In 2020 many governments around the world implemented lockdowns. The severity and length has varied greatly from one geographic location to another, but very few people in the world completely escaped them. The results were people isolating in their homes (Stay home, Stay Safe! and Together Alone! - or is it Alone Together? I can never remember, but whichever one it is - I HATE IT. And I usually avoid the word "hate".)
People limited who they saw, how many people they saw, how often they left their homes and the world slowed down significantly.
Over a year later and things seem to be slowly heading in a healthier direction. But in that time there were families that literally stayed apart for months or even more than a year. Grandparents didn't see or hug their grandchildren and some didn't even get to meet their new grandbabies for many months after they were born.
Gyms were closed. Parks and playground were closed. Anxiety skyrocketed - of course it did! We were literally trying an experiment out on almost the entire world's population, an unprecedented event in all of humanity's existence.
Look at that graphic above. Look at what promotes each of those happiness hormones. These are the ones that jump out at me: socializing, physical touch, and helping others (oxytocin), sun exposure and nature walks (serotonin), exercise and laughing (endorphins), achieving a goal and getting enough sleep (dopamine).
Considering the restrictions that were put upon people and the habits that emerged, it is safe to say that a large part of our population has been deprived of their fair share of these "happiness hormones".
But maybe being sad in these circumstances isn't such a bad thing. "Why I'm Happy I'm Sad" explores one man's experience and why he eventually realized it was a good thing that he was sad. He says:
In essence, the last year of pandemic has taken its toll on me, and even now whenever I put on a mask, read the social distancing signs in these establishments, or listen to reminders on the radio to be safe, I become depressed or angry.
I read another blog post of a writer I follow who described her relapse with depression. I suspect most of us know someone struggling with clinical depression. She said she didn't seek help for a long time because she wasn't sure if it was just from lockdowns. Well, maybe it *is* from lockdowns and maybe you need help too! It's amazing that people are trying to rationalize and talk themselves out of lockdown induced depression by telling themselves that they are "lucky" they don't have it worse or "What are you doing to do? It's a pandemic!"
No, no, NO! It's not normal to be locked down, it's not healthy and we all need to resist the idea and push back against anyone insisting that it *is* or *should* be part of our "new" normal.
It is normal to feel sad and depressed in these circumstances though. Maybe you will get a little bit of relief realizing that it's not you, it's a messed up situation.
And then - go take a walk outside in the sun with your giggling children, stop to hug them, maybe even talk to a neighbor! Get those happiness hormones moving again!
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.