Every aspect of human wellness impacted by response to COVID-19
Lockdowns, neighbors turning on each other and forced masking and vaccinations, negatively impacted every aspect of human wellness. The overreaching response to COVID-19 was worse than the virus itself.
What is wellness?
Wellness is an active, on-going process of becoming aware of choices and making decisions toward a more balanced and fulfilling life.
There are eight components of wellness, and all eight were significantly impacted by the mitigation measures put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The process of developing skills in, and achieving personal fulfillment from, our jobs while still maintaining balance in our lives.
Career wellness was damaged when businesses were ordered to close and when workers that had the ability to telework were sent home, leading to the loss of healthy, in-person interaction with co-workers. During the extended lockdowns in some states, various businesses decided to permanently close, leading to careers ending and the unemployed worried about finding new jobs.
The virus itself didn’t cause career wellness to suffer, it was the short-sighted decision to fully lockdown the country and businesses that caused the problem.
In May 2020, 49.8 million Americans did not work at all or worked fewer hours because their employer closed or lost business due to the coronavirus pandemic.
-U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The process of recognizing, expressing and managing one’s full range of emotions, including coping with stress. In addition, it encompasses the process of developing self-esteem and a positive outlook on life.
It is hard to cope with the stress caused by the media blasting out an almost constant stream of negative news about the virus, including stories that incorrectly led viewers to believe that every COVID-infected person had to be hospitalized, ventilated and later buried.
It is hard to maintain a positive outlook on life when families cancel plans over several holidays, when public officials encourage vaccination discrimination and when you look around and don’t see a smiling face due to mask requirements in all public spaces.
One thing that vaccinated people can feel comfortable with, for example — let's take the holiday setting, you're with your family, you have grandparents and parents and children, when you get vaccinated and you have a vaccinated group and you are in an indoor setting, you can enjoy, as we have traditionally over the years, dinners and gatherings within the home with people who are vaccinated.
That's the reason why people should, if they invite people over their home, essentially ask and maybe require that people show evidence that they are vaccinated.
-Advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci, December 2021
The process of making choices which will contribute to sustaining or improving the quality of life in the world.
You’ve seen them on beaches, in parking lots and on sidewalks. Almost three years from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, discarded mask litter continues to pose a risk to the environment.
Disposable masks are plastic products, that cannot be readily biodegraded but may fragment into smaller plastic particles, namely micro- and nanoplastics. In March 2021, studies estimated that people used 129 billion face masks globally every month – that is 3 million a minute.
The process of learning to plan, save and spend financial resources efficiently and within one’s means.
Being locked down for an undetermined length of time and not having steady income made it almost impossible to plan and save for the future. In many states, extra unemployment money was flowing but living off unemployment shouldn’t be a career.
Unfortunately, Americans have gone from pandemic-related financial challenges to significant and widespread inflation-related financial challenges. While there is light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, there doesn’t seem to be a short-term end to inflation and its hardships on the majority of Americans.
The process of expanding knowledge and skills as well as engaging in creative and mentally stimulating activities.
When the pandemic hit the United States, more than 55 million school children from K-12 were sent home to learn. Being cut off from school, teachers and friends can be difficult for any child.
The “Nation’s Report Card,” showed such steep declines in test scores compared with previous years that education experts warn that we’re on the verge of losing an entire generation to substantial learning loss.
In addition to the learning loss as a result of how the pandemic was handled, mentally stimulating activities like plays, musicals, and other performing arts, were not available for many months during the height of the lockdown phase.
The process of engaging in healthy activities that benefit the body, such as nutritious eating and exercise.
Men reported an average weight gain of 37 pounds and women an average of 22 additional pounds in a 2021 American Psychological Association (APA) survey. Half of all parents and essential workers who responded said they’d put on weight during the pandemic — an average of 36 to 38 pounds.
According to a Jan. 2022 study, those who reported being very overweight before the pandemic were most likely to gain weight (65%) versus those who reported being slightly overweight (58%) or normal weight (40%) before the pandemic. Weight gain was statistically significantly higher in those with anxiety (53%), depression (52%), or symptoms of both (52%). The study also found that the statistically significant predictors of pandemic weight gain were psychological distress, pre-pandemic weight status, having children at home; and time since last bodyweight check.
The process of creating and maintaining healthy, meaningful relationships with those around you.
Social wellness took a big hit during the pandemic, and continues to be negatively impacted as some people have moved on from the pandemic and others have not.
During the most insane phase of the pandemic, Americans were reporting their neighbors for COVID-19 policy violations, playgrounds were closed and long-time friendships were ended.
On top of the relationship challenges caused by COVID-19 fear itself, 2020 was the year of a highly polarizing election and if friendships weren’t ended or impacted by the virus, they had a good chance of suffering due to the 2020 presidential election. The politicization of virtually everything became the norm in 2020, and continues to rear its ugly head through the present day.
The process of discovering purpose and meaning in life and living a fulfilling life consistent with one’s beliefs and values.
During a substantial block of time during the lockdown phase of the pandemic, many churches across the country were forced to comply with closure orders. While sports stadiums filled, churches remained empty.
It is common for government agencies, businesses and organizations to conduct after-action reviews following significant and even not-so-significant events. Liberty Journal believes that there needs to be a careful and unbiased review of what went right and what went wrong in terms of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the best of the response to the virus can be repeated if there is another pandemic and the worst of the response can be avoided at all costs.
Right or wrong, trust in public health and government officials has been shaken, which desperately needs to be corrected prior to other viruses being released. The next pandemic could be deadlier and might genuinely require harsher measures than COVID-19, so regaining trust is critically important.
Do you believe there 𝒘𝒂𝒔 a pandemic?