Forget the soppy card, bunch of flowers and breakfast in bed, a simple hug is among the most wanted items by mums this Mothering Sunday.
That’s according to a recent study by leading UK health check service Medichecks. It polled over 1,500 women from across the country about how they have fared during the pandemic, including what are the best gifts they could receive in 2021.
Nearly half of respondents opted for good physical and mental health for themselves and their family (49%), 48% want a holiday and 47% are desperate to hug a loved one. Perhaps surprisingly, less than a third (27%) cited visiting a pub or restaurant as on their wish list.
Despite 72% of respondents saying their mental health has been negatively impacted because of COVID, 46% said they feel happier now than before the outbreak and 36% are optimistic for the future, with 35% saying the best gift they could receive is for family and friends to be vaccinated.
Over half described themselves as tired (56%) and 43% as stressed, which could be attributed to a staggering 90% putting the needs of others – family, friends, work and even pets – before their own.
Dr Natasha Fernando, a GP and Head of Clinical Excellence at Medichecks explains: “The study highlights what a rollercoaster of emotions women have experienced over the past year and how this time has been bittersweet for many.
“What is striking is that the things we often took for granted and seemed insignificant, like a hug, is now on a wish list of best presents for 2021. And while COVID has taken a toll on our mental health, there’s a real sense of appreciation for what we have.
“Worryingly, many women aren’t prioritising their health over that of others and its shows with many describing themselves as tired.”
In a nod to the positive impact of lockdown 59% of females saw their free time increase, with 47% having more than two hours of free time each day – most likely as a result of working from home replacing time spent commuting.
Activities occupying the new-found down time included watching TV (69%), doing housework and jobs round the house (54%) and cooking (44%).
Citing lack of motivation, drinking more alcohol and turning to convenience foods, 63% said their physical health has been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Dr Fernando concludes: “This has been a challenging time for us all and while maintaining a healthy and balanced diet with exercise is important, it is also essential for people not to beat themselves up. With the opening of gyms and sports clubs, plus warmer weather on the horizon, there’s a great opportunity to adopt new diet and fitness regimes that will aid health and happiness.
“The takeaway from our research is that overall women are valuing the simple things – hugs and good health – and there is an overall sense of optimism for the future. With wellbeing so intrinsic to health, it’s good to identify some positives as a result of the pandemic.”