What has COVID-19 taught us about our health? After being in lockdown for close to 2 months and on high alert for nearly 4, we should have learnt a lot about ourselves, our society and our health. If we do not come out of this is with some key learnings about our health (and the importance of the health of those around us) and take it forward then should it be looked at as a wasted opportunity?
Diseases (and pandemics) like this impact our health in many ways. Sure, there is the immediate physical threat that COVID-19 has, but what about the mental toll that is takes? The spread of fear, anxiety, depression and anger has been well documents over the last few months.
Combine this with the impact on emotional health, social health and environmental health. You start to paint a picture that shows the true toll that something like this has on any individual and community.
With all of this in mind, here are a few key learnings that I have picked up from COVID-19 & how I think we could benefit from them moving forward.
Our Health Should NEVER Be Taken For Granted
As someone who has dedicated their live to improving the health of others, it is always a shock to me how some people tend to take their bodies (and health) for granted.
Our bodies are very strong and very resilient and I can see how this occurs. However, this should not mean that we treat it however we want. We should always be looking to improve our health and best possible and make sure that we are living a high-quality life.
If we take a broad look at those most impacted (the elderly with pre-existing conditions) and take out those with genetic impactors that can be excluded from the living a healthy life argument, we are left with some interesting insights.
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Elevated cholesterol
- Lung disease (think smoking)
Want to know the scary thing about all of the above?
A lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic disease and a lifetime of bad food magnifies it.
People who move more and eat better will have a far lower incidence rate of the above. Thus will be in a better position to navigate disease and health concerns should they arise as they get older.
The last few months have shown the entire world how quickly someone’s health that can get ripped away.
COVID-19 has taught us a lot about our health and it should be a huge turning point in society. The majority of people should realise that they owe it to themselves and the people around them to live a healthy life.
It is time to stop putting shit in our body at the rate we do, increase the amount we exercise, and treat it like it deserves.
Washing of our hands with great frequency is front and centre of the health debate at the moment. Our hands touch absolutely everything and as a result are a massive carrier of germs.
Did you know that globally 4 out of 5 people do not wash their hands after using the bathroom?
Sure, that takes into account developing nations who do not have access to such facilities. In the developed world the number is still close to 60%.
This is something that MUST change in the future if we are to reduce transfer of illness and disease. Hopefully the lessons COVID-19 have taught us about our health over the last 4 months are not easily lost. As a society we will be far better equipped for flu and cold seasons if people are washing their hands with a much higher frequency.
Could it be a thing of the past?
Logic says it should be. COVID-19 has taught us that for our health, it needs to be.
As a fabric of society across most of the globe for hundreds of years says this is far harder than a simple yes.
We have been told for the last 4 months that shaking hands is bad. It really is.
Think about how many things we touch on a daily basis. Now think about how many other people touch them as well.
The more you think about it, the worse it gets.
It is absolutely engrained in the Australian culture, but with 2020 unfolding the way it has, there certainly could (and should) be a shift away from it.
There have been many studies that show that other forms of greeting carry a far lower chance of germs spreading and still allow the contact between 2 people.
For example, the benefits of hugging are widely known (reduce stress levels, lower cortisol levels, boost oxytocin & improve connection). Hugging also involves little to no hand on hand contact.
Should we simply hug it out from now on?
We Are Capable Of Much More Than We Realise
The final big learning that I have noticed over the last few months is that individually, and as a society, we rarely give ourselves enough credit for what we are capable of.
We have been forced to adapt and move forward with an incredibly tricky situation. We have done so with great effectiveness.
There has not been a single person who has not been directly impacted from COVID-19 in some way. As a result we all would have been put out of our comfort zone and grown as a result.
After dealing with the stress of drastic change and adapting, learning & growing in this situation we should all have developed a great sense of self-belief.
We should feel relieved that when (not if) we get through this, we should do so with the mental fortitude to know that we can achieve great things with our lives.
There should be the improved ability to feel confident in uncomfortable situations. The knowledge that there is always a path forwards and that we have the ability to find that path.
Whilst we are not through the woods when it comes to COVID-19, I think it is very wise to try and find key learnings and dare I say positives out of this. It is our ability to learn and grow as individuals that will define how we progress as a community and a country.
COVID-19 should have taught us a lot about our health and if we all take these learnings with us moving forwards, then we will be better positioned for if this happens again, or simply for the next cold and flu season (which is incredibly deadly in itself).
Over the past 9 weeks, we have aimed to deliver some great information as to how we can remain healthy, productive and in good spirits during this COVID-19 lockdown. This blog post is the latest addition to a growing library of information.
To read more on these topics click below:
- Boost your immune system now, thank yourself later
- Immune boosting recipes to help you avoid illness
- Create balance when you work from home
- Lose weight (or avoid weight gain) at home
- Keep food exciting during lockdown – 4 tips to success
- Iso-Cooking Recipes – 3 Immune Boosting Options
- Create Structure In Lockdown – Tips To Success
- How to Keep Your Relationship With Alcohol Healthy During Lockdown
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