Feeling like you’ve been experiencing the ‘corona-coaster’? These are the five emotional phases you might recognise.
Lockdown has been hard — there’s no denying it. From the anxiety of illness, to missing friends and family, to key workers on the frontline to ensure our safety. Even now, many of us are still shielding through the advice of the Government.
Thanks to new analysis by wellbeing psychologist Dr Andy Cope, we can get a picture of the emotional ‘corona coaster’ we’ve been experiencing since lockdown began.
Data from Simba’s sleep and mood tracking app has managed to plot the peaks and troughs of the nation’s emotions during lockdown. They have identified five “emotional phases” experienced by people during this unprecedented time.
To track each user’s emotional journey, the app asked people to record their daily morning mood. As well as to say whether they had consumed alcohol the previous evening. The app also tracked their sleep by using sound analysis, to monitor their sleep phases throughout the night.
1. The digestion phase
When Boris Johnson first announced schools, pubs, restaurants, gyms and other social venues were to be closed for the foreseeable future on 21 March, the UK entered a ‘digestion phase’, according to Simba’s analysis.
In terms of our moods, this digestion phase was initially characterised by a slight dip. With the morning of 23 March marking a particular low point, as people waited for lockdown to be announced later that evening.
2. A fleeting high
Surprisingly, after we came to terms with the lockdown restrictions introduced on 23 March, the mood of the nation was lifted. In fact, according to the app’s data, the mood of the nation actually soared momentarily to a level “well above the pre-coronavirus norm” on 27 March. And had been on the rise ever since the 24 March, the day after Johnson first announced lockdown.
A combination of relief at being released from the restraints of the office and joy at the prospect of spending more time at home characterised this first week. Indeed, as Cope highlights, this could be attributed to a perceived ‘work from home utopia’ — with people getting the opportunity to unwind and sleep better.
3. The honeymoon is over
We all remember that point where we hit a wall when it came to lockdown. The novelty of Zoom drinks and quizzes quickly got old. And all we really wanted to do was spend time with our loved ones. This is the third of the emotional phases. The ‘honeymoon’ period of the initial few weeks quickly came to an end between 25-31 March, as we learnt that key figures — including Prince Charles and Boris Johnson — were showing signs of the virus.
This drop in national mood also affected our sleep, with the stress of home-schooling and the threat of furlough and redundancy leaving us restless and anxious.
It’s not surprising to hear this. According to a recent study from King’s College London, 60% of people have experienced worse sleep in lockdown.
4. Reality hits
With Boris Johnson admitted to hospital on 5 April showing signs of coronavirus and the death rate continuing to rise, the country effectively hit rock bottom.
Up until this point, the nation’s alcohol consumption had been steadily rising. Interestingly, however, at this point the amount of alcohol we were consuming dropped. This is thought to be due to the nation “sobering up” to the realities of the pandemic.
5. Emotional plateau
After months of ups and downs, the final emotional phase you may reached by now is a plateau.
Having digested the idea of a ‘new normal’, around 8 April we hit a turning point. Although our moods still had highs and lows, for the most part, there was a lot more acceptance.