Corona has given us unhealthy habits
New research indicates that the pandemic has led to lifestyle changes for many of us - and unfortunately not for the better. These lifestyle changes lead to declining mental health.
We move less, spend more time in front of a screen and less on social activities. These are, in short, the discouraging lifestyle changes that corona has brought about. These lifestyle changes are of concern to Robert Jonasen, Chief Psychologist at SOS International:
- We need to take a very serious view on the changes in lifestyle. A lack of physical activity is crucial for mental health, says Robert Jonasen.
During the pandemic, SOS International has experienced a large increase in cases of clients seeking help from a psychologist. In particular, the number of enquiries due to anxiety and depression has increased significantly.
From the first six months of 2020 to the first six-month period of 2021, SOS International has seen a 21 percent increase in cases involving psychologist assistance in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The greatest increase was seen in Norway with 39 percent. It is estimated that the majority of the increase is attributable to corona-related symptoms.
Robert Jonasen points to the following lifestyle consequences of the pandemic:
- Working from home has meant that many are physically less active. Some studies point to a halving of the daily physical activity.
- Lockdowns and isolation requirements have led to us cutting back heavily on socialising.
- On the other hand, we have become used to spending far more time than earlier on watching TV, streaming series, etc.
Source: “Lifestyle and mental health disruptions during COVID-19”
Department of Social and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh
Prioritise exercise and socialising
- Unfortunately, the fact is that a sustained, active effort is required to rebuild mental well-being once we have been negatively affected by the unhealthy lifestyle changes, says Robert Jonasen.
If you want to work on improving your lifestyle and feel better, both physically and mentally, Robert Jonasen, Chief Psychologist, offers up a number of tips:
- First of all, you should know that exercise has never been more important than it is right now. Therefore, I recommend that, first, you start to become more physically active. You can kill two birds with one stone and exercise with others, thus, also earning some points on socialising, says Robert Jonasen.
The psychologist’s advice to attain a healthier lifestyle:
- Use the pedometer on your mobile telephone. Set yourself manageable goals and celebrate making even minor progress
- Agree with a friend to go for a walk, run or to sports together
- Bring more exercise into your everyday life: Cycle to work, walk instead of catching the bus, take the stairs
- Prioritise social contacts – start with the goal of participating in one social activity every week
- Switch off your screen – read a book or play a game instead
- When you are streaming: Switch off the next episode auto-play feature
- Remember: Seek help if feelings of melancholy or increased anxiety increase.