Effects of pandemic could weigh heavy on many

The Coronavirus pandemic hit one year at the beginning of March 2021. During this entire time people have been going through many feelings and effects not because of the disease making people sick specifically, but because of the aftermath of the isolation that took place to protect each other. 

According to Medical News Today, roughly 65 percent of a recent study reported that people had increased feelings of loneliness since the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic.

All of these problems are happening all throughout the world where different societies are. A lot of people understand and are aware that staying isolated, especially alone, could take a toll on someone’s mental state.

However, there also may be a lot of people who don’t understand that times and situations like these could also cause physical problems, like vision deficits. Although, there are things that can help these people, this could not only give awareness about those who live alone but also give some information to help those people who are living alone.

The effects

First of all, being isolated, especially for so long, can be harsh, especially on older adults. This is usually because they may be more dependent than independent, depending on the person. Even if this isn’t the case, being isolated could have an effect on anyone. Even if there are people who are not completely isolated and they may have someone in their home that they could talk to but don’t, these symptoms could possibly apply to them as well. 

There are a lot of physical and mental repercussions for isolation, like elevated systolic blood pressure and increased risk for heart disease. Being lonely, or being socially isolated in general could lead to increased risk for coronary artery disease-associated death. Increased depressive symptomatology is something that can be caused by loneliness, following with poor self-rated health, impaired functional status, vision deficits, and a perceived negative change in someone’s life in general. Depressive symptoms can lead to a more “heard of” kind of death: suicide. The thing is, these depressive symptoms are related to worsening cognition over time. 

Due to social isolation, behavioral changes could occur, which could include unhealthy lifestyles. Unhealthy lifestyles could be smoking, alcohol consumption, lower physical activity, poor dietary choices, etc. When people recognize these kinds of things and develop a better understanding of the situation, they can find ways to stop all of these negative effects from happening.

How to get through the sadness and depression

One of the ways to help you get through sadness and depression through loneliness is going outside. Lack of sunlight can also cause sadness, while being outside could improve your mood. If you are able to, try to spend some time with your family and friends in some way, though that may be difficult due to COVID-19. 

One of the most well known ways to help for mental health is exercising. This could include physical and mental exercises. Meditation is another way that can lead people astray from anxiety and depression. Consuming Vitamin D is also very helpful for people’s mood. 

Rachel Slick, a behavioral health specialist who sees patients at UCHealth Internal Medicine – Greeley, has been helping many people who have rarely left their homes since March 2020. 

“Many are older adults who are retired.” said Slick. “Maybe they’ve lost a spouse or their children are grown and the kids have their own lives. They’ve been very responsible with quarantining. Some have only left the house for grocery pickups or a doctor’s appointment.” 

There are a variety of people who do feel lonely, and there are a lot of ways to help them feel better about their situation. 

On May 23, 2020, in collaboration with INTERDEM, IPA ran a webinar program addressing this very issue: “COVID-19, social distancing and its impact on social and mental health of the elderly population.” Taking the right steps will be able to help a lot of people.