The end is in sight.
The vaccine is released to the public and the number of people vaccinated is only rising. By no means is the pandemic over, but the climate now is so different than it was six months ago and it is changing for the better.
Restrictions are lessening as vaccinated numbers go up, and people are beginning to travel and see one another once again. Getting the vaccine is more than just an immunization against the virus. It is letting out your first deep breath since the beginning of this pandemic. It provides an important sense of security to everyone who gets it.
COVID-19 is stuck in our minds. It invades every moment and leaves us anxious and frightened. The vaccine fights the mental symptoms of COVID-19 just as it fights the physical ones.
COVID-19 is a Stressor
This is easy to overlook in the face of everything else COVID-19 brings to the table, but it is true. This virus has impacted just about every facet of our day-to-day lives for over a year. We were forced to stand by and watch the world as we knew it shut down. Dealing with the aftermath of such a disaster, especially when it is still going on, is difficult and painful. Through the course of this pandemic, mental health suffered as stress levels spiked.
Even mild cases of COVID-19 have a negative effect on mental health. Research finds that there are spikes in anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder in people that have contracted COVID-19.
- 26 percent of people reported increased anxiety following their recovery. These are people who remained relatively unaffected by the physical symptoms of COVID-19.
- 22 percent reported increased symptoms of depression. No matter the intensity, contracting COVID-19 impacts everyone who contracts it.
- 17 percent reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. It is not an experience they can easily move on from.
Many of the study’s participants reported they had never experienced mental health problems before.
It has Taken its Toll on Everyone
For this past year, we have dealt with the stresses of COVID-19. The vaccine is a big step towards the lessening of that stress, as there is no longer the acute danger that any person you pass on the street might be spreading COVID-19 to you.
It is a step towards going outside and enjoying the air, the weather, and friends. While it does not guarantee protection, it gives a feeling of hope that is long overdue. Getting the vaccine helps alleviate the stress from COVID-19.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
The pandemic has gone on for a long time. In the first months, there was little to do but watch the curve rise and fall, stuck in your own home. Wondering how all of this was even possible.
Talk of a vaccine has been around since the beginning, but for so long it felt impossibly far away. It was all too easy to dismiss good vaccine news for uncertain or unreliable information. Now, however, that is not the case. The vaccine’s existence and availability are concrete things now, and signal a significant change for the better.
Vaccines are Flooding the Country
At the beginning of the vaccine distribution, there was a general scramble for the chance to get vaccinated. Stories of people taken aside in a distribution center and offered the vaccine because someone missed their appointment flooded the internet, and the light at the end got just a little closer.
Now there are plenty of vaccines, but there are still those who are uncertain about getting vaccinated. It is important to see how the vaccine affects mental health too, not just physical health.
Getting Vaccinated Feels Good
The feeling of security that comes with getting vaccinated cannot be overstated. Many people, when getting the vaccine, just smile. Getting COVID affects everyone around you, making it that much more frightening, and stressful.
With the vaccine comes hope. Hope that the day we reach the light at the end of this tunnel is not so far off, after all. It marks a step towards recovery.
We Understand it’s Not Over
There is the worry that, as the numbers of vaccinated rise, people will stop taking the precautions they have for the duration of this pandemic. There will be those who take advantage of it.
People have disregarded the guidelines of social distancing and wearing masks since they were put in place, but they are few and eclipsed by those who do follow the guidelines. Though the numbers of vaccinated people continue to rise, they do not get shocked into disregarding the precautions they have taken this past year to get to this point.
There are parents who have had to juggle working remotely while their kids went through online classes, and kids at university who haven’t been to a classroom in over a year. These people are not throwing caution to the wind with their struggles still fresh in their memories. Recently vaccinated families are getting together for the first time since this all began. There is beauty in that.
The vaccine is giving us the chance to take steps towards a new normal. It is a slow process, but already it has had an immensely positive impact on people’s emotional well-being. The safety that comes with physical protection from covid leads to an unmistakable feeling of relief and a significant boost to mental health.