Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, self-isolation guidelines have been passed across the United States. People are being advised to maintain a distance from each other, and going out is frowned upon. Businesses that are deemed non-essential have closed or begun operating on a delivery basis, and the rest have also changed the way that they work. Schools have shifted to remote classes, whether through the use of video conferences or simple websites. As a result, I now cannot work and am struggling to maintain my physical and mental well-being. To try and cope with these issues, I intend to start learning new skills and exercising more actively.
The current self-isolation situation is mostly unprecedented, at least in modern history. There have been disease outbreaks in the recent past that generated a considerable amount of publicity, but most of them did not warrant such severe measures. At most, travel restrictions were introduced, but they have proven to be inadequate in the case of COVID-19. As a result, the United States has not been prepared for the current situation, especially concerning its small businesses. They were not ready to switch to a distance-based model and were forbidden from operating using their current model. As I worked at such a company, I was furloughed with no pay, as the owner cannot afford it while not making profits.
The first cause of my problems is the lack of income, which means that I cannot afford to live as I had before. I have to save money, as it is unclear how long the current situation will continue. Secondly, I do not get enough exercise because I go out much less than I had before. It is difficult to motivate myself to work out at home, especially since there is no room to run there. Lastly, there is not enough for me to do in terms of work or entertainment. I could complete my schoolwork while combining it with my job before, and I struggle to supplant the loss of the latter. I thought that there would be enough entertainment to use up my time, but I do not feel interested in watching it. The inability to meet other people and interact with them is also affecting me adversely.
I have become more austere in my eating habits, preferring to eat inexpensive food that may not taste as good as what I usually make or order. I have begun buying food that keeps for longer but is not necessarily healthy, such as rice, grain, and various pre-processed meals. This practice and my lack of exercise have led me to start gaining weight, which I am concerned about. It is going to be challenging to get rid of this extra fat once the lockdown ends, and I would like to prevent having to put in that effort. Lastly, the boredom and lack of social interaction are affecting my mental well-being. I feel pessimistic and negative and tend to worry excessively about my problems.
The first solution that I have considered is to start dieting, preventing my weight gain by lowering the number of calories that I consume. In doing so, I would stay physically healthy while also possibly saving food costs. The money could help me save for a more extended period or contribute to some other needs. However, this solution does not address my concerns regarding my mental health. Designing a diet and adhering to it are complicated tasks that require dedication and willpower. I may feel worse while dieting than I do already and hurt myself rather than achieve a positive result.
Another option, one that I have tried, was to look for a new job, whether in the area or online. Had I succeeded, I would be able to resolve both my money issues and remove the excessive free time. If doing tasks such as delivery, I might have been able to engage in adequate physical activity, as well. However, my search for a job failed, as there was too much competition for any available position. I tried applying for some remote work positions as well as delivery jobs throughout the last week but did not receive a response from any contact. Many people have the same concerns as I and have chosen to try the same approach. As such, I could not find an unoccupied spot, though I will likely accept one if I have the chance in the future.
By learning new skills, I would be doing something meaningful with my time. They could help me in my future career, and this awareness could reinforce my well-being. Physical activity could help me lose weight and improve my appearance in general, improving my confidence. According to Budde and Wegner, exercise also has beneficial effects on stress reduction in both the short and the long terms. Additionally, neither of these practices cost much money, with possible costs involving essential exercise equipment and a paid learning course. Effective exercise and directed learning can occupy my time and help me burn calories while also saving money because the basic equipment required is inexpensive.
First, I am going to plan out the exercise that I am going to be doing and try to understand what skills I am lacking. Currently, I plan to perform basic exercises such as squats, pushups, and situps and work on my writing abilities. Afterward, I will purchase the equipment necessary and look for courses, both free and otherwise, that will help me bolster these abilities. I will set a schedule for when I will perform each of these activities and adhere to them strictly. Doing so is necessary because otherwise, I may be too lazy to work on myself consistently. In the times that stay free, I will try to engage in the entertainment that I have stored up but not used.
The learning activities do not work that earns me money directly, and it is going to be challenging to overcome this perception. They may not enable me to feel as fulfilled as a job would. As such, they may not benefit my mental health while also failing to contribute to my finances. The exercise may also cause me to require more energy and consume more food as a result. Combined with the costs of the equipment and the courses, this solution may use up my money faster than it would disappear otherwise.
Overall, the current situation has resulted in numerous issues that compound each other and affect many Americans, including myself. I have limited money, am becoming fatter, and worry overmuch because of the stresses of self-isolation. Dieting would only add to the pressure, and my search for another job has not brought any results. As such, I intend to start engaging in exercise and look for courses that would improve the skills needed for my career. In doing so, I can resolve some of my issues, though mental health may remain a concern, and I may lose my money at a faster rate as a result.
Budde, Henning, and Mirko Wegner, editors. The Exercise Effect on Mental Health: Neurobiological Mechanisms. Routledge, 2018. E-book.