Arts & Life, Special Projects

The pandemic has affected your mind and body more than you realize

Being part of a major historical event is exhausting.

It has already been two years amid the COVID-19 pandemic and we continue to live in a constant state of fear and worry of the unknown. The frequent news of those around us getting sick, and even some losing their lives can be stressful situations someone can go through.

The pandemic has caused great damage to the world, but it has also affected your mind and body.

Dealing with so much loss can be difficult for someone to mentally navigate and process. The loss of our absolute freedom to come and go as we pleased.

Graduations, birthdays, and holidays were not celebrated because there were too many risks. The most difficult loss is a loved one passing away due to COVID-19. According to the New York Times, more people in the United States died from COVID-19 in 2021 than in 2020.

It is draining being stuck in quarantine or tirelessly working as a health care professional or essential worker. It gets depressing to think about how not much has changed from where we were in 2020.

The pandemic has caused people to struggle even more with their mental health. A new study by Brown University and Boston University, published in The Lancet Regional Health, found that 32% of U.S adults experienced symptoms of depression in 2021 compared to 28% at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.

Life going back to “normal” seems to become more of a distant memory. Dueling and holding onto this idea of normalcy has definitely affected us all. Things that we are looking forward to can be taken away just as quickly by variants of the virus. For example, the omicron variant has postponed so many concerts like Elton John and Adele.

Our bodies have gone through so much as well, the most drastic being actually contracting COVID-19. Now it is more impressive to find someone who hasn’t got sick than someone who has.

As of this year, there is a daily average of 618,315 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S, according to the New York Times. But we also continue to try and protect ourselves and not let this happen.

Our bodies have undergone a lot of stress over these years, especially when we were in quarantine. This resulted in the “COVID 15”, which people refer to as the weight that they gained during this time.

According to Harvard Health, researchers found that 39% of patients gained weight during the pandemic. Other people lost a lot of weight. People were ignoring their hunger cues because of the stress we were living in.

An electronic health record analysis revealed that 35% of patients lost weight during the first year of the pandemic. These shifts in the way our bodies were functioning resulted in changes some of us may have not even noticed.

Our immune systems have changed as well. Now, 68% of California’s population has been fully vaccinated. Booster shots have also become mandatory in places like universities, such as CSULB, in order to return to campus. All this we do to protect our bodies and prepare us for if we do get sick.

Our minds and bodies have endured so much throughout this pandemic. We will never know what life have been like if the pandemic hadn’t happened and wish for the days we once knew.

Instead of focusing on how much has changed, for the better or the worst, all we can do is keep moving forward. We must learn to nurture ourselves as individuals and as a collective because we are all going through similar changes.

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