Marcus Wareing health: Chef on ‘scary’ concerns for health due to Covid – ‘toughest time’

MasterChef: Marcus Wareing’s Bangers & Mash skills test

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In his new BBC show, the chef travels across the country to discover the secrets of planting, rearing livestock and growing vegetables to help him transform his smallholding. Across 10 episodes the chef’s tentative steps into the world of farming are documented, starting tonight with a choice of livestock. This change in lifestyle comes after the chef revealed that he struggled during the last pandemic, and feared getting the virus as it might have affected his career. Although saying that he and his family followed all of the rules, these restrictions led to him drinking far too much and feeling down.

When taking the Daily Mail health quiz and answering the question how has the pandemic affected you, the chef replied: “It has been the toughest time I’ve ever had.

“During the last lockdown I found it very difficult and scary not being in the kitchen and not having a business. I drank far too much.

“My wife Jane and I followed the rules strictly — staying inside with our children Jake, Archie, and Jessie.”

In another question later in the Q&A style interview, Wareing said that he doesn’t have depression, but for the past few months has “been down”.

Speaking about the potential effects the virus would have on him and his career, Wareing said that the idea of catching the virus is a “horrible thought”.

He went on to say that even if there was a small chance that he’d lose his sense of smell – a common symptom of COVID-19 – it would severely affect his job.

“That’s a horrible thought – I couldn’t do my job,” he told the Radio Times.

“It never occurred to me before. You might as well cut my hands off. It would be like being paralysed.

“A lot of my kitchen team have had it, but no-one has told me it affected their sense of taste or smell.

“It would show at once in their work. They wouldn’t be able to season or create the layers of flavour in the cooking process.”

Despite all of the UK’s legal restrictions having ended after a long two years, COVID-19 has not completely disappeared.

As of February 25, there were still 31,933 daily positive cases and 120 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test.

Some individuals are also suffering from long Covid, which can be “utterly debilitating”. With numerous possible symptoms, long Covid can potentially cause the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle pain
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Pins and needles
  • Feeling sick
  • Higher temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to smell or taste
  • Depression and anxiety.

Luckily for Wareing, he has never had the virus, but the fear of getting it has caused him to rely too much on alcohol and had a negative effect on his mental health.

A research study conducted by Mind, a leading mental health charity, found that among 12,000 individuals, people with mental health problems reported an increase in the severity of challenges they are facing and concerns for the future due to the pandemic.

In addition, a third of adults and young people had said that their mental health has gotten much worse since March 2020.

The most prevalent mental health conditions that have been affected by the pandemic are anxiety and depression, but one in five adults did not seek support during this time as they thought that their problem was serious enough.

The NHS explains that depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days. Some individuals can go through weeks and months of feeling down rather than just a few days.

Symptoms of depression are varied and can range from feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression may also have symptoms of anxiety, which can include:

  • A sense of dread
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach ache
  • Feeling sick
  • Headache.

Luckily however, individuals who are suffering with mental health problems have a lot of treatment options available to them. Treatment for depression and anxiety can involve a combination of lifestyle changes, talking therapies and medicine.

For services that offer confidential mental health support, call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans, or email: [email protected] for a reply within 24 hours, or text “SHOUT” to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line, or text “YM” if you’re under 19.

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