For many people, even those fortunate enough to have their livelihood or health unaffected by the coronavirus, this pandemic is affecting us all. It’s true, one third of the world is under restrictions, and even my own country went into full-lockdown this week.

While I can appreciate these measures, this doesn’t remove the risks or dangers associated with self isolation. More specifically, this doesn’t change the fact that self-quarantine is bizarre and self-isolation is well-known to incite certain health issues.

For instance, I read the other day that self isolation can make people feel cut off from the people around them. Nothing new here but this same article also explained how self isolation can lead to increased anxiety and self-esteem issues. And this made me think about what’s really happening in the midst of this virus in Ireland and around the world.

You see, not only can we not travel anywhere, we are also left to deal with some very tedious thoughts that do little good for our mental health…

The Coronavirus Fallout: My Experience During Lockdown in Ireland

Ireland was quick to respond to the coronavirus situation. While many world leaders were waiting to “see what happens”, social gatherings were banned and even the pubs were closed. Now, I’m not saying this to paint Ireland as a leading light but rather to give some context before telling you how things are going at this moment in time.

You see, everything has changed in the space of a week. As with millions of others around the world, I was laid off from my job and then requested to self-quarantine at home. It was quite a shock in the beginning and extremely strange to self quarantine.

But what have I been up to during this time?

Well, aside from applying for jobs at supermarkets, I have been thinking about all the amazing places I would like to travel later this year. After all, in lieu of travel, I have always been someone to plan future adventures and this seems like a pretty good time to continue that habit. At the same time, I have been video calling friends or family and keeping myself entertained on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Travel Planning

With this in mind, have you noticed the positivity going around on social media?

It seems like, in spite of the chaos, something good is coming from the coronavirus:

For instance, you will find an endless stream of old photographs and stories on social media this week. Many of my friends are reminiscing about old times, while others are talking about the simple things in life that they miss so much already. Meanwhile, I’ve been watching videos of people camping in the back garden or living room, and laughing about how they will never take that sort of thing for granted ever again. In short, it feels as though the common perception of social media is changing somewhat.

How Our Perception to Social Media Might be Changing

During this strange time of isolation, I was reminded of a quote by Gary Vaynerchuck:

“Social media is not making us unhappy, social media is exposing us to the truth”.

That is to say, the marketing guru believes that how we feel about social media is just a reflection of what we think about our own lives. More specifically, if people think that Facebook or Instagram is nothing but fake photographs or sad influencers, it suggests these people might be rather unhappy. After all, why should a happy person feel any need to express such negativity in the first place?

Anyway, my point is, social media has been a shining light in recent weeks. What’s more, the coronavirus situation is somehow bringing out the best in people and demonstrating the true power of social media. And if you need any reassurance of this shift, check out the legions of users sharing cooking recipes, funny stories or creative ideas on social media. It’s true, social media is not only keeping us all connected but also helping us make the most of any given moment, every single day.

But what does all this really say about what’s happening during the pandemic?

I believe there’s a simple answer to be found in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which can help us better understand the effect of the coronavirus.

The Relevance of Maslow’s Theory During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As you may know, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a psychology theory that explains the inner workings of our motivation. It outlines five-tiers of needs which include growth, safety, esteem, physiological and love or belonging:

Growth – To be the best version of yourself.

Safety – To feel safe from any harm.

Esteem – To respect or appreciate the self.

Physiological – To have basics such as food or water.

Love/Belonging – to feel loved or have a sense of belonging.

In terms of how it works, this model explains how people can only attend to needs higher up the pyramid when they feel satisfied by the lower needs. For example, with the virus weighing heavily on the mind right now, people are easily distracted from their usual needs. This means that rather than working on needs such as their career or relationships, it’s more likely that people are concerned about their health and safety.

With this in mind, many people who usually work within the top of this pyramid have been pushed down as a result of the coronavirus situation. But that’s okay because economic problems should never take precedence over things like our health.

Anyway, as I sit in my room and ponder an uncertain future, I also know that we must deal with one crisis at a time. And so while I no longer have a job and travel will have to wait, I also know that my health is most important and everything is going to be okay.

Window frame looking outside