Mental wellness in 2021: Life in a post-pandemic world
To say that 2020 was tough would be an understatement as it was probably the most difficult year for the modern generation. As we have now moved into 2021, many parts of the world have exited the lockdown era and there is an increased focus on resuming life as it was before the contagion.
Mental health awareness in the post- pandemic world
The pandemic highlighted how mental wellness is one of the most important aspects of our life. Before the viral outbreak , people were so occupied with their professional lives, social responsibilities, and other daily life rigours that mental health issues, stress, and depression almost got swept under the carpet.
Even when a large number of people felt they were not feeling well, they kept enduring the stress and pretending everything is fine. Mental health challenges have permeated deeply across various social, regional, and financial categories, and it is not unusual to find wealthy and apparently successful people silently endure depression.
During the last one year, millions have suffered bereavement, illness, financial, and other challenges. The silver lining, however, has been that the lockdown and other pandemic measures also created an environment where people are spending more time with themselves.
Almost everyone has made lifestyle changes in the wake of the pandemic. A lot of people have made long-term shifts to remote working and school- going children are likely to continue studying from home for at least some more time to come.
Social engagements have reduced drastically and even when the option to go out is now available to most people, discretion and caution have become the buzzwords.
While most working individuals used to rarely spend any waking hours with the family in the pre-pandemic era, during the lockdown last year (even now in many countries) families came together.
People are interacting more through social media and a great deal of self-discovery, realization of basic joys of life and the need to spend quality ‘me’ and ‘family’ time is greater than ever now. There is a sense of understanding that what matters is happiness and the experiences we create in the present. In such a scenario, mindfulness and holistic wellness concepts are making a great impact.
Benefits of Meditation on Life Quality
Meditation has always made a tremendous impact on the positivity and wellness aspects of human life and that is the primary reason why ‘prayer and meditation’ used to be an integral element in all religious practices in the past. Buddhists and many of the Hindus still practise meditation, but, it is only now that the world is paying greater attention to such practices and their benefits for humans.
Meditation can help in reducing anxiety levels significantly. A calmer mind is able to think more clearly, assess the situation better and enable people to perform better at their jobs as well as lead better personal lives.
In today’s stressful environment, regular meditation and mindfulness practices can more than double employee productivity. This explains why a majority of the employers today are focusing on providing mindfulness classes or meditation sessions to their employees.
Another fact that has been well corroborated by medical science is that stress can reduce our body’s immunity and make it vulnerable to a number of diseases especially viral infections. Meditation and mindfulness reduce stress. Thus, they are also effective measures in improving our physical health. Other major health benefits of meditation include curbing insomnia, and reducing the risk of hospitalisation for coronary diseases.
In the wake of the pandemic, people all over the world are realizing these benefits and each day we see an increase in the number of meditation and mindfulness practitioners.
Apps for mindfulness
Digital technology and the worldwide spread of smartphones have been highly instrumental in driving this surge in demand for mindfulness. Most of us are already used to apps for various purposes such as social interactions, learning, fitness, reading books, financial tasks, and various other daily life needs such as shopping and groceries.
Thus, it becomes easier for people to access mindfulness services and training through smartphone apps especially in areas where the physical access to meditation centres or mindfulness coaches is limited or non-existent. This has become more of a reality in the post-pandemic world with lockdowns and movement restrictions becoming the order of the day.
The demand as well as the availability of advanced mental health apps has created a global market that is rapidly growing and might be worth billions of dollars within the next few years. Today, you can find a number of apps offering options such as deep breathing exercises, guided meditation, and sleep assistance to the users.
Slow living is another rapidly growing trend nowadays. From the buzz around fast-paced life, the emphasis is now shifting towards doing the right things and experiencing the joys instead of rushing through tasks.
For instance, instead of gobbling the food quickly and returning to work, slow living entails properly chewing the food, experiencing the taste and ingredients. It is not about living in slow motion, but, about tuning the pace to the right levels and doing things that are dear to you.
Enjoying the morning tea/coffee, spending the winter afternoon, enjoying the pleasant sunshine, or going for morning walks, vacations, and even playing board games with children are joyful experiences that can improve one’s quality of life.
Life is all about new beginnings and moving ahead with our plans, enjoying the moments and cherishing all the accomplishments and possessions.
The time is perfect to use digital apps for mindfulness and holistic living as we go on to achieve our goals and dreams in the new normal.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)