The Effects of Pandemic Stress on Health
According to a recent article in the Washington Post entitled “The Abnormal Way We’re Living is Hurting our Bodies,” it’s becoming increasingly apparent that our Covid-19 ‘lifestyle’ is causing widespread physical problems that we all must address. The effects of the pandemic manifest in our bodies, from our eyes to our brains, teeth, skin, and feet – and that’s without actually contracting the coronavirus. Rolfing and correct body posture are certainly an important part of retaining our health during this extraordinary time.
“In the springtime, we started seeing it among health-care professionals first,” said Anna Chien, a doctor at the Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology, referring to cases of maskne — acne caused by hours-long mask wearing. Many people are also finding that the skin around their ears is breaking down after sitting through all-day virtual meetings or classes while using over-the-ear headphones (which they switched to after hours of wearing earbuds that hurt their ears). Many people now clock up to nine hours a day in virtual classes, appointments, workouts, music lessons and chats.
Hours of online work has caused many to suffer daily eye pain. Doctors are advising sufferers to use blue-light blocker glasses. People are also reporting in increase in tension headaches.
The American Dental Association Health Policy Institute reported this fall that grinding and clenching cases are up nearly 60 percent and that dentists are seeing 53 percent more cracked teeth than they did last year — all largely stress-induced.
And how about those backs after eight months hunched over a laptop at the kitchen table? The American Chiropractic Association reports a significant uptick in lower back and neck pain. The No. 1 cause? Lack of movement, the group says, as the commute between our bed, our desk, and the fridge is substantially less than our pre-Covid routines.
The effects of our inadvertent lifestyle change have made it all the way to our feet. Wearing slippers or all day, or other footwear our feet are not accustomed to, is causing an increase in foot pain. “Footwear — or lack thereof — may be to blame for the upsurge in cases,” according to the American Podiatric Medical Association, which recommends wearing work shoes for a couple hours a day.