Let’s rewind for the coronavirus. Their life was a daily routine with commuting to and from work, a long, late working day, frequent lunches and a precarious exercise regime. You desperately needed a retreat, an inspiration to help you change your biological clock and your bad habits.
So has the pandemic come as a blessing in disguise?
As ridiculous as it sounds, the months that we were home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week gave us the opportunity to change our lifestyle for the better. The possibilities are limited by only a few, such as the blockade of most rock and dark writings. And even among those who feel financially and physically secure, a constant sense of insecurity does not make it easy to adopt good habits or make positive changes in their lives.
In recent months life coach Luc Coutinho has determined how many people are improving their diet and sleeping habits or starting to train. They tend to ignore these early causes by talking about things like the hectic pace of working life, communication needs and the time it takes to get to the office. You won’t find any other excuses. But not much can change. Stress levels are still very high and motivation is low, he said.
With restaurants struggling to reopen or even stay afloat, and food supply aggregates reporting a three to four-thirds drop in revenues in the months following the blockade, home cooking became the norm.
The positive result, Cutiño said, was weight loss for many people. It teaches us to find a balance. If you eat mainly outdoors and eat a lot of sugar, salt and butter, weight becomes a problem, he says.
Another indicator of improved health is lower blood sugar and blood pressure among people who could afford less work-related stress and, more importantly, no travel. It shows that too much travel and irregular working hours can be harmful to our health, says Cutiño.
A nutritionist in Goa, specialising in integrative medicine (taking into account the physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences affecting human health), regularly publishes information on social networks and encourages people to use their time to cook, exercise and follow circadian rhythms. According to the biological clock, the circadian lifestyle he promotes requires waking up before or at sunrise, an early dinner that coincides with or immediately follows sunset, and no phones or screens for an hour or two until sunset.
Cutiño says that many of his patients with sleep disorders now find it easier to go to bed at the same time every day.
However, given the variable effects of the blockade, there were also complaints of insomnia and sleep disorders, especially with the increase in content consumption on online streaming platforms.
On all positive points, Cutiño believes that it is still too early to say whether people will continue to oppose the old methods when everything is back to normal.
It is believed that habits can develop if you stick to the task for three weeks. Although there is no scientific basis for this often-quoted claim, experts argue that the burden ultimately lies with the individual and his or her motivation.
In the early stages of a crisis like this, occupational safety and hygiene is a concern for the majority of the population, says Naveen Kumar, psychologist with the Manas Foundation in New Delhi. Mental health, on the other hand, is a growth factor (motivation) for a small segment that knows it and is able to solve it.
Apparently, health problems have multiplied several times since the pandemic. But has this prompted people in India to seek support for mental health? Kumar says no.
While there is no shortage of self-help tips, it is unlikely that the experience of the pandemic will yield many of these tips, as it threatens our lives and worsens our economic conditions. In this situation, even the need to learn something positive can cause stress.
According to Kumar, there has been an increase in anxiety disorders in the spectrum over the past three months. These include generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder. They don’t have a clear idea, because nobody has an answer today. This uncertainty leads to what we call anxiety disorders in the spectrum, he says.
Negative factors such as alcohol, tobacco, cruelty, irritability and impulsive behaviour are easier to control as the new standard progresses, according to Kumar. Unlike bad habits, good habits require constant effort.
The Kovida 19 crisis is expected to lead to a recession that could last for several years. Does this mean both smoothing out the curve of consumer attitudes and striving for a less condescending and more environmentally friendly lifestyle?
When economic activity picks up, we will be able to reach retailers faster than we think.
Herd tendency is safer than herd immunity, N. said. Chandramuli, who runs TRA Research, a brand consultancy in Mumbai. He points to China, where people went shopping after the blockade. Chandramuli calls this the purchase of freedom, not revenge, which used to be an aggressive waste of food in response to a period of denial. The acquisition of freedom is inevitable. It’s not about the value of the product, but the value to the consumer, he says. Also, people will come to the theatres as soon as they open.
He expects an increase in online shopping and expects Diwali to sell better than in recent years, with brands taking care of customers through smart marketing.
In addition to health care, car brands are currently among the most important advertising media. There is a high demand for cars, including electronic cars, because the pandemic will also stimulate environmentally friendly purchases.
Marketers see changes in consumer behaviour as long-term and based on the desire to exceed demand.
The pandemic and the blockade are as much an experience as imprisonment. We adapt to the circumstances, but the most important feeling is already that I want to go to the party and show that I am free, said Chandramuli.
In our new depressive order, a return to hedonistic habits may seem far from the truth.
Like Kumar said: Spirits have a habit of bouncing. And if someone does not follow a controlled or trained intervention with a degree of self-motivation, he or she cannot develop a positive habit.