The coronavirus pandemic has largely influenced the daily lives and activities of people living in the US, as it did with those in other countries. It forced a large number of people to remain at home for long stretches of time by closing schools, companies, businesses, and offices.
As a result of all these social distancing norms and worldwide lockdowns, the COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably resulted in an increase in the use of internet media. In fact, as per the reports by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), it is estimated that throughout the pandemic, the number of Internet users had increased to around 4.9 billion in the last year of 2021.
Nine out of 10 US residents said that the internet had become a vital or significant part of their lives. Numerous individuals either opted for more video calls and conferencing or started using multiple software and applications in different ways for personal or professional usage.
However, while the internet was a savior for some, it presented difficulties for others. According to studies, internet addiction is linked to mental issues such as depression, worries, anxiety, and stress, as well as chronic fatigue or sleeplessness.
In order to cope with such challenging times, many individuals have started adopting companion pets, known as emotional support animals (ESAs), who have assisted them across the country by providing companionship and comfort to their owners.
With the help of this article, let’s get to know the various ways in which ESAs have helped people impacted by the internet during the pandemic and how you can securely get an ESA letter online.
Negative Impact of the Internet During the Pandemic in America
Before we start talking about the usefulness of ESAs and the steps to getting an ESA letter, let’s list down some of the major effects caused by the internet during the pandemic.
Excessive Screen Viewing: According to research conducted in 2020 and 2021, average screen time for adults living in the US and abroad has increased by 60–80 percent since the COVID-19 outbreak.Too much internet addiction tends to have a number of adverse effects, such as sight problems, insomnia, anxiety, and even dependency on the gadget on its own.
Less Interaction: One of the things that the pandemic has completely transformed in the personal lives of Americans in the last few years is the inability to interact with family, relatives, and friends. This feeling of avoidance, which rose from the whole social distancing situation, caused many individuals to feel more isolated and stressed.
Anxiety & Depression: The pandemic caused a 25% rise in anxiety and depression on a national and international scale. This was caused mainly by widespread worries, fears, and concerns about financial insecurity and unemployment in the general public as well as among specific groups like elderly individuals, particularly those with underlying medical conditions.
Ways in Which ESAs Help Individuals During the Pandemic
Here are five ways that ESAs helped people with mental health issues, particularly during the pandemic:
Increasing Outdoor Productivity: Unlike the Internet, which engages people in more indoor activities, ESAs tend to retain them in more physical activities, such as going out for brisk walks, runs or hikes. Infact, over 96% of dog owners reported that their dogs help them stay physically active. It’s an ideal way to get some much-needed exercise and fresh air which are beneficial to treat mental health problems.
Providing Companionship: During the lockdown, as Americans tried to stay focused while continuing to work, the emotional support and companionship helped get over the feeling of loneliness and isolation. This sort of unconditional love is far, far better than watching animal videos all day on the internet. Not just that, but by greeting neighbors or stopping to talk with other pet owners while out on hikes, walks, parks, pet stores, etc., many people were able to socialize and develop friendships with other fellow humans.
Reducing Anxiety & Depression: Many animals are sensitive to your feelings and can detect worries or sadness. They are excellent listeners and don’t give unwanted advice when troubling thoughts arise. Hugging your pet feels great, helps you calm down and relieves anxiety and depression, as well as stimulates the secretion of feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin.
Maintain Schedules: According to a survey conducted by Battersea, 75% of pet owners genuinely think their pets assisted in “rescuing” them during the pandemic. Owners say their pets help them get out of bed every day, have meals on time, look forward more to daily walks, and thus maintain a healthy, scheduled, balanced life, which they couldn’t possibly have done if they were dependent only on the internet.
Steps to Apply for an ESA Letter Online
To obtain an ESA, you must obtain an authentic ESA letter, which is a clinical prescription signed and sealed by a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) that verifies your mental illness and the right to have an ESA.
ESAs are capable of helping their owners by lifting their moods and filling their emotional voids. With an ESA letter, you could indeed live and travel with your pet anywhere.This even includes places where animals are not permitted, such as restaurants, apartments, housing complexes, hotels, and so on. Do avoid online fraud by ensuring that your letter has the LMHP practitioner’s license number.