Anxiety-relief products sell like hot cakes amid Covid

By Vien Thong   August 10, 2021 | 08:20 pm PT
Anxiety-relief products sell like hot cakes amid Covid
A young woman and her son color a digitized sketch in Hanoi. Photo by Jos Pham.
With Covid-19 causing prolonged social distancing, more and more people, especially in big cities, are resorting to the use of mental health products and services.

Nhi Chau of HCMC’s Binh Thanh District has been buying fragrant candles, oil extracts and vegetables and fruits rich in oil and fragrance such as lemongrass and lemon. Every night she lights fragrant candles for an hour or two when reading books or watching movies. She also burns lavender oil extract hoping to sleep sounder.

She also boils water with lemon grass and adds lemon slices and sea salt to make her house fragrant.

She says: "I feel that my house has become a spa. It is very interesting to heal my body and mind by myself."

Hoai Anh of HCMC’s Phu Nhuan District has been buying more books and participating in online training courses. She recently bought a mattress to practice yoga after work.

Fragrant candle maker Kofuku started selling in late May, and was quickly overwhelmed with orders.

"The surge indicates that the more people stay at home, or the more problems people face outside, the greater their focus on mental health," a company spokesperson says.

Besides fragrant candles, oil extracts and books, handmade products are also in big demand. More than 36,700 people with the hobby of coloring digitized sketchbooks, mainly from Hanoi and HCMC, have formed a group on social media. The sketchbooks are in huge demand.

The hobby has become popular in Vietnam over the past year, and thrived amid Covid-19, Pham Nhuong, director of Dali, a Hanoi company that makes digitized sketchbooks, tells VnExpress.

The company has had to double or triple production, even quadruple it when the pandemic situation is particularly difficult.

Nhuong says: "Many customers say that the whole family coloring a sketch is a way of connecting."

According to a report by iPrice, a Malaysia-based online shopping aggregator, searches for mental health services have surged 61 percent against 2019.

Amid the Covid-19 outbreaks, Vietnamese often take care of their mental health by using fragrance and light.

Searches for fragrant candles in the first five months of this year increased by 481 percent over the same period in 2019, and those for light therapy lamps increased by 236 percent.

Searches for other anxiety-relief products, including weighted blankets, sketchbooks, back and neck massagers, herbal tea, and oil extra have also increased dramatically.

Health experts have warned that risks of mental disorders have increased amid the pandemic.

Vietnam has recorded nearly 229,000 local Covid-19 cases in 62 of its 63 cities and provinces since the new wave started over three months ago, leaving northern Cao Bang the only province that has yet to be infected.

HCMC accounted for more than half of the nation's cases, with nearly 132,000.

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