Welcome to the health theme of the Covid-19 Digital Collection. Here, we chose six objects that align with the theme of health – mental, physical, and spiritual – and have come up with common connections between our fellow classmates’ objects and how it benefits their health and overall wellbeing during the lockdown. The pandemic is causing serious consequences on all health, especially mental, so much that the World Health Organization (WHO) prioritizes mental health in this particular development of the pandemic (Biondi & Iannitelli, 2020). The objects reflect physical, mental, and spiritual health in unique ways.

There are four subthemes that were divided for the health theme, namely hope & security, keeping the mind and body busy, and preservation of health. Further information can be found below.

Hope and Security

“There is hope that as we are coming together as a global community to fight a global pandemic, so too can we finally address other important global problems like climate change and poverty.”

Nicholas Pimlott

During the pandemic, in order to prevent the spread of the Covid19, governments of various countries adopted restrictive measures. People were restricted, cannot travel freely, need to wear face masks, and wash their hands several times a day. In such situations, people still have hope for science, and hope that by working together, we can quickly overcome the virus, and hope for an early return to “normal” life. People also use objects around them to give them the hope of self-regulation and emotional stability. When people face the unknown, especially when the unknown is dangerous or threatening, people will come into contact with symbolic objects that provide a sense of normality, safety and hope (Kushner, 2019). For example, Chinese herbal medicine brought people hope of curing COVID-19.

In addition, staying healthy can increase people’s sense of security. Both mental and physical health can make people feel safe. First of all, health is a guarantee of safety. While maintaining one’s health and following the necessary rules, the possibility of getting the coronavirus is greatly reduced. That, too, provides a sense of security. Secondly, according to Harding (2016), cultural biographies of objects address the social lives of things inspired by natural frames. Therefore, individuals’ social lives were affected. When people ensure their own health, it also reduces troubles for others and gains a sense of security. Finally, whether people wish to prevent disease through taking medicine/supplements or by maintaining their health through diet and exercise, its root often lies within the fear and inconvenience of falling ill. These practices can reduce fear and gain a sense of security.

Keeping the Mind and Body Busy

It is especially important for many to keep the body and mind busy, because the impact of being inside affects us dramatically. To avoid distress, one could focus on keeping boredom away as this contributes greatly to the feeling of frustration and isolation (Brooks et al 2020). Moreover, boredom could be reduced by doing whatever brings one joy and relaxation, like exercising, meditating, socializing from a distance, practicing hobbies and self-care. This varies from person to person, so it is vital to determine what the best strategy is for each individual’s wellbeing.

Preventing Diseases and Preservation of Health
Video about the benefits of running

A common theme that was identified while looking at the chosen objects for this theme was the prevention of diseases and preservation of health. The former is especially stressed as there is a global pandemic, so naturally people are inclined to take better care of themselves during this trying time. The latter often refers to preserving mental health. Although physical and spiritual health is equally as important, being isolated definitely catalyzed the process of mental healing for some. Others enjoy exercise as a form of physical health preservation, while it also stimulates the brain and leaves one feeling accomplished and healthy during mundane and hopeless times. Likewise, meditation plays a well-rounded role in people’s lives with mindfulness and spirituality. Self-care lets people calmly enjoy and pamper themselves at times when it is really needed, like now.

Coming Soon
During the pandemic, which of the following objects did you use most often to protect your health?
During the pandemic, which of the following objects did you use most often to protect your health?
During the pandemic, which of the following objects did you use most often to protect your health?

The poll was created by the authors

Objects Associated with this Theme

Explore the narratives hidden behind each object and gain a deeper understanding of how they can act as coping mechanisms.

Meditation Pillow
By Marc Boas
The Jupiler Bottle Opener
By Thomas Mormont
Hand Creams
By Serena Huang
Running Shoes
By Leah Buchholz
Spiritual Stone
By Desi Pavlova
Chinese Herbal Medicine
By Mingshu Yang
By Letizia Gallo

Biondi, M., & Iannitelli, A. (2020). CoViD-19 and stress in the pandemic: “Sanity is not Statistical”. Rivista di psichiatria, 55(3), 1-6.

Brooks, S. K., Webster, R. K., Smith, L. E., Woodland, L., Wessely, S., Greenberg, N., & Rubin, G. J. (2020). The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. The lancet, 395(10227), 912-920.

Harding, A. (2016). Introduction: biographies of things. Distant Worlds Journal, (1),5-10.

Kushner, D.M. (2019, May 28). The Things We Carry: What Objects Have Meaning for You? What do the objects we surround ourselves with reveal about us?

Pimlott, N. (2020). Hope in a global pandemic. Canadian Family Physician, 66 (5), 312.