Times have changed, and so has our emotional wellbeing

The current world-wide pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainty for many of us. All the changes to how we live our daily lives cannot but have an impact on our mental health. More and more I see people suffering from “covid-depression” as well as anxiety.

We shouldn’t be surprised really. Covid-19 has turned our lives upside down. We experience trauma on a daily basis. We are basically at war. Our normal coping mechanisms no longer work as they used to.  What we used to find relaxing no relaxes us or we are unable to do it because of restrictions. People are more irritable because of the constant worry. You might even find that you are a lot more sensitive than you used to be. We have lost so much, and we have to deal with even more. The world is a scary place at the moment.

Why is this happening?

The covid pandemic has taken so much away from us. People have lost their income, their security and in some instances even their homes.

Most people have probably heard of and even referenced Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs at some point. If you look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs it is clear that we are currently operating on another level entirely. Were previously (for most of us) our basic and psychological needs have been met they are now under severe threat.

The chart below is a simplified version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Graphic of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

According to Maslow, we have five categories of needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization. In this theory, higher needs in the hierarchy begin to emerge when people feel they have sufficiently satisfied the previous need.

This is where the problem comes in and it might explain why we are currently experiencing such emotional turmoil.

For one we can’t operate on an optimum level if we have to be worried about meeting our basic needs. As our basic physiological needs are now under threat it is all we can focus on.

Only after our physiological needs are satisfied, we can focus on the need for security and safety. People want to experience order, predictability and control in their lives. At this moment in time we have neither predictability nor control. Examples of safety needs are emotional security, financial security, freedom from fear, social stability, property, as well as health and wellbeing.

As most of our basic needs are currently under threat our psychological needs suffer. As human beings we can only handle so much at one point in time. Our cups are full, and we don’t know what is coming next. The only solution is to change the way we think and how we approach things. We need to find new coping mechanisms and new ways to connect with each other. If you or a loved one is suffering emotionally or not quite “yourself” remember that this is strange and uncertain times we are living in and try to take it day by day.

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