Wellness Industry Booming Amidst Coronavirus Outbreak
As lockdowns are forcing us to stay home indefinitely, it seems that many of us turn to our screens in an effort to stay sane. Online cooking classes, meditation apps, fitness classes and “with me” tagged YouTube videos (cook with me, clean with me, study with me) are more popular than ever. We’re stuck inside, and we’re desperate for company and something to do.
Some people are taking this opportunity to better themselves, which works to the benefit of the wellness industry. Yoga mats and kettlebells are selling like toilet paper, online trainers are seeing their number of subscribers double, and downloads for the most popular mindfulness apps have grown by more than 80%.
With our health care system struggling under the strain of this new virus, self-care has never felt more important. We need to keep in mind that coronavirus not only has the power to kill those it has infected, but it can also instill anxiety and loneliness in the ones forced to stay at home, not knowing when and how this situation will be resolved.
If health has been framed as disease prevention and treatment through the medical system, wellness is seen as a positive and actively pursued goal. At this point in time, it gives people a sense of control, even if it’s only over nutrition, self-care practices and interior decoration.
In recent years, wellness had already become a pricey commodity and a status symbol with so many wealthy celebrities advertising their self-care routines and products on social media. They were showing that they have gained the ability to go beyond “healthy” and strive for being “radiantly well”.
Now that the lack of tests, masks and ventilators and further confirming distrust in the medical system, strange elixirs and powders, with their promises of “boosting” your overall health, have become more seductive than ever.
Millennials – The Wellness Generation
For years Millennials have been at the forefront of the wellness trend. The largest living generation that also constitutes the majority of the workforce has developed very different values and ideals compared to their predecessors. On their list of priorities, wellness ranks second only to family.
This makes sense when you consider the socio-economic environment they grew up in. Although they’re often mocked as avocado-eating, thin-skinned “snowflakes”, they have had to deal with a cut-throat corporate culture, higher competition, underemployment, stagnant wages, the 2008 stock market crash and the Great Recession that followed and now the coronavirus outbreak which will most probably cause significant economic disruption.
When we consider the higher prevalence of burnout, anxiety and depression paired with dim prospects caused by environmental changes and frequent economic downturns, there’s no wonder they’re concerned with their health.
Many millennials are distrustful of conventional health care. They view it as a greedy, unethical industry that’s inclined to put profit before the well-being of patients. This isn’t just in the United States where the private sector manages a big part of health care facilities.
In the UK, a study commissioned by the NHS revealed that more than half of millennials prefer using CBD alternative treatments to manage their mental health. They fear that going to the psychiatrist will result in being prescribed an unnecessary amount of powerful medications.
Granted, psychiatric medications have been shown to have limited response rates and side-effects that limit tolerance and adherence to treatment. With promising research into the therapeutic benefits of CBD and the discovery of the newest cannabinoid THCP, it’s hardly surprising that millennials are interested in new products that could help them minimize their symptoms and cope better with these stressful circumstances.
They prefer more holistic methods and lifestyle changes. More than 50% report having left jobs because of stress-related burnout. For millennials, wellness is a daily active pursuit. They have healthier eating habits and exercise more.
Now that gyms and fitness boutiques are closed, and many millennials have to work from home, they have lost two important means of socializing. Although, because of their age, they’re less vulnerable to developing severe complications from getting infected with the coronavirus, they’re more susceptible to mental health problems stemming from isolation and anxiety.
How to Stay Sane While Working From Home
One advantage of having to work from home is that it frees up the time you would normally spend commuting. Unfortunately, this might also translate to spending more time at your desk.
A VPN services provider analyzed activity on its servers and found that since the middle of March, the average working day has increased by around three hours in the United States and by two hours in Canada, the UK, France and Spain.
Employees shouldn’t feel pressured to work during the time they gained by not having to commute, but many are trying to prove to their bosses that they’re not taking advantage and slacking off. They’re afraid their companies will have to let people go, and if they lose their jobs, they won’t be able to find new ones in the current crisis.
But sitting at your desk for long hours every day isn’t healthy and, over time, it will reduce the quality of their work. It has now become more difficult to set clear work-life boundaries as employees can no longer structure their day around getting to work and coming home.
Some companies are paying attention to the detrimental effects isolation and working from home can have on their staff’s mental health and are providing perks like home-office budgets, psychotherapy sessions and entertainment packages for kids. Other companies try to give their teams opportunities to socialize by sending them food and wine packages and organizing video conferences for “tasting sessions”.
As we’re learning to adapt to these temporary changes, we might learn to better implement remote work as to increase productivity and reduce stress. Remote workers, on average, should gain around 30 minutes of downtime compared to their on-site counterparts, and being allowed to work from home a day or two per week has been shown to reduce burnout and turnover rates considerably.
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