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COVID-19 raises concerns for physical and mental health

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about new health concerns and new ways of approaching everyday activity including how we look at physical and mental health.

When the COVID-19 pandemic started many people had to adjust to staying indoors. While it was necessary for the health of the individual and everyone around them. It took a toll on people’s mental and physical health.

People who were used to going out to the gym or hanging out with friends were forced to stay indoors unless they absolutely had to and resulted in people working out or hanging with friends through video.

“We did see an influx of new faces as we moved our class schedule to an online format,” said Stevi Self, an instructor at Southern Star Yoga. “I think there were many reasons for that. [O]ur classes were accessible not just to Oxford residents, but to people all over the world. We has old students who had moved away that were thrilled to rejoin the studio as we moved our classes online as well as new students we had never seen from as far away as Asia, Africa, Europe, and Central America. One woman in Tokyo would take our 8 a.m. class before she went to bed at night.”

According to personneltoday.com, research has shown emotional and physical wellbeing are closing interlinked. However, the relationship between the two is complex because they both affect each other.

“Firstly, there are physical connections between what the mind is thinking and how the brain controls bodily functions,” according to the article. “For example, the brain is connected to our endocrine system, which can influence emotional health through the hormones it releases into our body. Secondly, there’s evidence to show the more physically active you are, the more an individual’s emotional wellbeing improves.”

Laura Hill, who is the creator and president of Ole Town Med and is a Family Nurse Practitioner, they have definitely seen a rise in people coming in with stress and anxiety due to COVID-19.

“It hasn’t been long enough to know for sure if the immune system is being compromised in regards to stress or anxiety,” she said. “All we know is that people are coming in fatigued because the stress has taken a toll on their body.”

Stevi Self, with Southern Star Yoga, pointed out this connection.

“Having the tools of yoga to help us deal with the fears and worry that accompany the uncertainty we have faced, and will face, over the past few months has been invaluable,” she said. “Sure, I appreciate the strength and flexibility that comes with yoga, but the mental benefits have been my saving grace. I’m sure there are many in our community who would agree.”

Southern Star Yoga started offering classes for free from mid-March all the way through summer. However, they didn’t see an increase in memberships.

“Since we offered our classes for free from mid-March all the way through summer, we didn’t see an increase in membership,” Self said. “We managed to keep our very loyal member base for the most part and we had many others support us through donations which has kept us afloat.”