Psychologists argue that the most stressful situations we encounter in life are divorce, the death of someone we love, and moving from one home to another. Well, now they can add a fourth experience to the statistics: the coronavirus.
Today’s experts agree. The pandemic will have a profound, long-lasting impact on us. Here’s my take on what is likely to happen. Sadly, it’s far from good news.
We’ll all get fat (in fact, we’re already getting fatter by the day)
We’ve never gained as much weight as we have in the last few weeks, and nothing indicates this will change. The industry term for this is “Mindless Munching.” We’re eating on autopilot. Experiments show that when rats are under severe stress, they eat more.
When we humans are tired, our craving for dopamine causes us to eat more. And when major changes take place… yes, you got it right: we eat more. Thus, the post-coronavirus prediction is simple. We’ll see a major uptake in eating and everything that comes with it. Cooking programs, diet books, healthy living courses, diet programs…
Did I mention divorce?
Domestic violence has increased threefold in certain U.S. states since self-isolation kicked in. Close proximity to our family members, the lack of routine, and the temporary closure of churches are major factors. Don’t laugh: Rituals and routines have defined religions for thousands of years. In fact, on average, you and I execute more than 350 routines and rituals daily. The latest estimates indicate that we’ve changed 40% of these due to the crisis. No big deal, you may say – but it sure is. Experiments with chickens show that changing feeding routines leads to violence among the chickens – after only two hours!
The conclusion is simple but scary: expect the divorce rate to skyrocket after the coronavirus.
What’s my purpose in life?
With all that, we’ll wake up to another reality, another view on life. Many people have realized what loneliness means. Many are already heading full-on towards depression. We have plenty of time – some may say, too much time – to evaluate ourselves, our lives, and our future. I mean, there’s only so much Netflix one can watch. And with that, we’ll re-examine our role in society.
Some will use this time to their advantage and rebrand themselves, so to speak. They’ll use the coronavirus as a second chance to create a new self-image, to get a second chance for a comeback.
The perceived value of money will also change. We’ll ask ourselves: What is money worth, anyway, if we can’t use it? As a result, we’ll most likely see people living fuller lives. We’ll see a rebound of the bucket-list: more daring sports and adventures, parties, holidays, and quality times with friends and family.
We’ll be basing our existence on a simple principle: We only have one life, so what the heck?
The boss may have figured it all out. Video calls and virtual meetings cut costs in half and doubled productivity. But if you’re the boss, don’t be fooled. We were more or less forced down this digital distance management track, but once the coronavirus has left our planet, a much bigger virus will capture many of us: the fundamental questions, our purpose in life, at work and at home. We’re coming to realize that socializing is the fuel of happiness, at home and at work. Yes, sure. We survived the virus and learned the efficiency of a 100% digital lifestyle, but as appealing as it first seemed, something was missing. We need that something – our craving for a physical sense of belonging, a desire for human connection – at any price