Half of Americans picked up some of their nasty old habits during COVID quarantine

NEW YORK — COVID-19 won’t last forever. With that in mind, many are ready to put their best foot forward after a lost and depressing year. A new study finds two-thirds of Americans are actively trying to improve themselves for the post-pandemic world.

A survey of 2,000 people, commissioned by Vagaro and conducted by OnePoll, reveals 64 percent want to look their absolute best. Another 68 percent want to be the best version of themselves (mentally and physically) when the pandemic finally ends.

The ugly side of COVID quarantine

Quarantine Glow upMore than six in 10 respondents (62%) feel optimistic that the pandemic will end before 2022. However, over half the poll (51%) say there’s no escaping the fact 2020 was the hardest year they’ve ever experienced. Since the pandemic began, nearly half of Americans (46%) believe they’ve let themselves go while in lockdown.

Weight gain comes in as the number one way people say they’ve let themselves go. In fact, 60 percent say they’ve added on several pounds during lockdown. Among these respondents, the average American gained 17 pounds during their isolation.

Other ways people have let themselves go include losing touch with family and friends (49%) and avoiding makeup and facial grooming (46%) while staying at home. A little more than half (51%) cited falling back into bad habits, like eating unhealthy foods (53%), excessive drinking (49%), and failing to groom themselves on a daily basis (43%). Thirty-eight percent started to smoke again, despite kicking the habit before COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we live our lives and affected many people mentally and emotionally, thereby making it easy to go back to or start unhealthy habits,” says Fred Helou, CEO for Vagaro, in a statement. “Hope is on the horizon and now is the time to get back on track and focus on personal goals. Taking that first step like signing up for a virtual yoga class can lead to bigger accomplishments like completing an intense exercise regimen. Little wins can lead to big results and can also help combat feelings of stress and being overwhelmed.”

Looking good and feeling good in 2021

Quarantine Glow upA year after officials declared a global pandemic, 47 percent of Americans say they now feel like they’re in a better mental and emotional space than in March 2020. Researchers reveal sheltering in place was the motivation 58 percent of Americans said they needed to take time to focus more on self-improvement.

When asked what they want to work on, 60 percent said they’re dedicated to improving their personal appearance. Another 56 percent want to take better care of their skin and 53 percent are focusing on their hair. Half of the poll report they’ve already started taking better care of their skin. Of those, more than three-quarters (77%) have either established or improved their daily skincare regimen.

Meanwhile, 58 percent have added a specialty treatment (such as masks or dermal fillers) to their current routine. One in four have started getting or have increased the frequency of getting a facial or another service done by an aesthetician.

Attaining overall better health is the top-cited response (52%) by Americans explaining why they are motivated to take better care of themselves in 2021. Nearly half of respondents add they want to build their self-confidence (48%) or feel happier with themselves (46%); proving that people want to take better care of themselves as they move on from COVID.

“With 2020 allowing time for introspection, many will face the post-pandemic world with a new mindset and will want to improve themselves physically, mentally and emotionally,” Helou adds. “Now is the time to focus on self-improvement and work towards making personal goals a reality. While times of uncertainty can be difficult, it can also be a catalyst for change – for the better.”