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The pandemic within the pandemic

Phew, 2020 has been ‘a lot’. Understatement of the century. At this point, having just gone through a nail-biting presidential election in the US and with second lockdowns surfacing around the world, leaving Christmas in the lurch, we’re all unsurprisingly feeling it. You’ve probably seen and heard about the Mental Health crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic is leaving within its wake, dubbed by many as ‘the pandemic within the pandemic’. We’re worried about our finances, our health, we can’t hug our friends and family, we can’t plan ahead and what lies ahead is uncertain. All of this has seriously taken it’s toll this year so far, and with cold days and dark nights looming, looking after our mental wellbeing right now is more important than ever before. We’re even missing our commutes to work – the thing that many of us once hated. This has lead to the fake commute, with many going for a drive, stroll, or cycle before and after work to separate the increasingly blurred lines between our working and personal lives. Retail brands are now feeling an increased need to play their part in improving the wellbeing of their communities. Green Room Design explore… Social Media platforms playing their part It’s slightly ironic perhaps that social media platforms are stepping up and putting a focus on mental wellbeing. Social media usage has rocketed since lockdown 1.0 back in March – let’s face it, there wasn’t much else to do. All this social media consumption is unlikely to be doing our wellbeing much good. It should be alarming enough to us all that many of Silicon Valley’s tech executives have been raising their kids tech-free… That tells us all we need to know about the way technology and social media is designed to make us behave. It’s got the same, sad irony as the old joke about the cigarette brand owner who tells their kids not to smoke. But last month, mental health enemy no.1, Facebook, announced a new ‘emotional health portal’ to help users of Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Messenger to better manage their wellbeing online. This portal is a centralised resource centre on the Facebook app, loaded with tips and information from experts worldwide on how to look after your wellbeing in these current times. I know what you’re thinking – it’s a little fishy that Facebook has launched a feature to prioritise emotional wellbeing, but senior staff still don’t let their own kids use their platforms. Snapchat is also doing their bit to help. In response to a reported 73% of Snapchatters feeling more stressed than last year, theplatform has joined forces with mindfulness app, Headspace, to offer in-app meditations. Brands in the offline world It’s not just social media platforms that are doing their bit. Amazon and Fitbit have recently released the latest tech products to track wearer’s mental health by monitoring mood and analysing emotional states. Sadly, they come at slightly eye-watering prices, but they work to track your stress levels, sleep, and skin temperature, alongside the usual fitness tracking features. The idea being, that we become more aware of our mental health, in the same way that we are of our physical health. In a similar vein, sports brand Asics have put humans at the centre of their most recent campaign, with the ‘In My Shoes’ audio series. It works to share inspirational stories from those who have discovered the benefits of exercise on their mental wellbeing. It’s an important message to be spreading right now when looking after our mental and physical health is paramount. Even though the wellness industry is huge, many of us do need reminding every now again to slow down and practice a little self-care. It’s great to see big brands around the world highlighting this during these tricky times.

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The pandemic within the pandemic

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