Who is that? 40% of Americans don’t recognize themselves in the mirror due to COVID stress

NEW YORK — Who’s that in the mirror? While many people haven’t seen their friends during the coronavirus pandemic, some believe they haven’t even seen themselves recently. Two in five Americans say that they’ve passed a mirror and not recognized their reflection at least once during COVID-19.

A national survey of 2,000 American consumers examines the evolution of respondents’ relationships with their bodies since the pandemic started last year. Over half the poll (51%) believe the pandemic has negatively affected how they feel about their body. Another 42 percent confessed to not feeling “at home” in their bodies anymore. About one in two people (49%) say they don’t have the same level of confidence as they did prior to COVID-19.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Massage Envy, also examined consumer confidence and discovered there are a few things that respondents said they would need in order to regain the level of confidence they had before the pandemic.

Body image covidFor 52 percent, a vacation would help regain their confidence. A haircut (33%), a night out (37%), and a massage (37%) all top the list as well. For some, confidence involves more than just the physical, with three in ten consumers (31%) saying they would like to start mental health therapy.

Pandemic wear and tear

Researchers find the pandemic has taken more out of us than our confidence. According to the results, 47 percent of Americans say their body has been aching in brand new ways since last March.

After everyone’s daily routine was upended, the new daily ritual has started to take its toll. Nearly three in five (58%) admit their daily routine since the start of the pandemic is inflicting major wear and tear on their bodies.

Half the poll admitted to feeling physically drained on a daily basis from the general stress of COVID alone. Another 46 percent blame the general “sameness” of the passing days for feeling drained.

Almost two in five people (39%) feel physically drained without in-person interactions and nearly a third (32%) feel tired from practicing safety precautions while out and about. These daily stressors have also had an intense physical impact on those respondents who experienced chronic pain before the pandemic began (45%). Of those with chronic pain, two in three (66%) reveal their pain has increased since the pandemic’s start.

Meanwhile, among those who have never experienced chronic pain before (55%), nearly a third of them say the stress from the pandemic has given them chronic pain for the first time in their lives. Many of these Americans (40%) feel they’re going to need professional help to get their body feeling like its pre-pandemic self.

Body image covid“This pandemic has inflicted a mental and physical toll on many of us,” says Beth Stiller, Chief Executive Officer of Massage Envy, in a statement.

Getting back into shape after COVID

Respondents did reveal they’re hopeful to make some improvements when it comes to their physical well-being as COVID ends. Two in three want to improve their energy levels and 46 percent want to improve their flexibility. Forty-four percent of those polled want to improve the back pain they’re experiencing, while 43 percent plan to improve their posture.

“When we’re stuck at home, staring at our computer screens all day, it’s important that we’re taking care of our bodies. Incorporating self-care rituals into our everyday routines is key to boosting self-confidence,” suggests Stiller.

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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