How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect people’s general mindset and mood?

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Many studies have been conducted in order to determine the causes of bad mood, as well as of what makes people happy. These studies have determined many facts that we, as the public, know. Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, life has changed in general. People have had to adapt themselves to a new kind of living, at least for a certain period of time. Phases have been observed, and everybody was able to remark how the general attitude towards this unusual situation was changing. When the pandemic started, a lot of people were saying that it was a good opportunity to rediscover ourselves as people, and do the things we have never had time to do. It is obvious that after almost nine months upon the introducing of the international measures, people changed these views, and that their perspectives are different.

The question is, how this pandemic affected people’s mood and mindset through time, considering multiple studies done in various countries. Many factors have to be taken in account, and the region in the world where people live is also important. I also wanted to see whether these events had more benefits or harms on people in general. These very complex questions cannot be answered in the same way for everyone, but a general idea is always welcome.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, all countries in the world have been affected by it and have had to make some measures specific to its context. March is the month when the sanitary protocol began to be applied across the world. Since then, several lockdowns and other measures have changed people’s life.

As previously said, a lot of studies have been investigating people’s mood and mindset. The last studies conducted before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic had the benefit to continue their study in another way, for another aim. Generally speaking, these studies mainly observe negative impacts of the pandemic and the lockdowns on people’s health, which are the general consequences. The positive consequences are, in general, less studied or studied in a different way.

Conducted by the Chair of Psychology of the Philosophy Faculty of the University of Zagreb, entitled “How are we?”, a research studied these topics and their consequences via an internet site. Their very complete study has exposed the results of their work, through an internet site. Different students worked on the various impacts that the pandemic had, and how everyday life situations were affected. Almost everybody’s situation is presented in the study. From the report, many different kinds of harmful consequences are revealed even though they are not the only ones. This study was published in May 2020; the figures and the scatters may have changed in the last months, as the study continues.

“How are we?” is divided into seven parts, ruled by one question, that explores every aspect of our lives, and how it is impacted. Every person is unique, and every question will, of course, be analyzed in a different way.

The seven questions are the following:

  1. What are you worried about and why?
  2. How are you managing your everyday activities?
  3. How do you feel in your relationship?
  4. With what problems are you dealing as a parent? – How are your children?
  5. With what kind of problems are you dealing at work? / With what kind of problems are you dealing as an unemployed person?
  6. How are you as a student?
  7. How are you as a pensioner?

It is obvious that everybody will not be concerned by all the questions, which is why many studies do not study all of them at once, but it is interesting to read it entirely in order to understand how other people may feel in the same circumstances.

For example, the scatter presented below, talks in general about people’s mental health. Everybody is dealing with this kind of problems, and the data can be instructive for everyone.

On the figure above (written in Croatian), you can find the different levels of depression symptoms, anxiety and stress and their evolutions with the outbreak of the pandemic and the lockdowns. On the vertical axis, the percentage of participants who responded to the five conditions represented by the five colors is represented. The green “normalno” means normal; the yellow one “blago” means a little bit; the light orange “umjereno” means moderately; the dark orange “jako”, means a lot; and the red one “izrazito jako” means that the level of one of the three conditions, is very high, compared to the usual level of it. The numbers exposed in the study still do show that the majority of people do not have higher levels of stress, depressive symptoms or anxiety, but a large part is still affected. These statistics are the ineluctable evidence of the negative consequences of this pandemic on people.

Symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress (as shown in the previous figure) have been observed in a large proportion of people. People who did have these issues before the beginning of the pandemic, observed, for the largest part, a deterioration of their conditions. The majority of these people have thus experienced the negative consequences.

The pandemic even affected people’s organization and marital situation. The socio-economic crisis that has begun has also left many people unpaid or unemployed, which certainly affected them. Depending on the socio-economic context of each country, people will be affected differently. For example, some studies conducted in Sweden state that people were not feeling so much stressed about their work or money, but more about the medical aspect of the virus; while studies conducted in Croatia and Serbia showed that people were much more worried about their work and salary. The position and qualification level of people is also to be taken in count.

According to a study conducted before and during the pandemic in North Macedonia, researchers have demonstrated that people experienced more stress for their job and money, but generally felt better and more optimistic about the political situation of the country, which is generally not the case in other regions of Europe and of the world. The study was conducted on people of all ethnicities and social backgrounds. A similar study conducted in France and Germany led to other results but however very similar. Their respective countries’ situation worried them much more than their work and salary. The evolution of the pandemic has put many people in very problematic situations, and their reactions depending on their living place are radically different.

However, you have, as an observer, to ask yourself how it has affected your life and the things around you. Everybody has been impacted in some way, positively or negatively, but surely, the situation is not the same as before. Generally, researchers are not very optimistic for a positive evolution of people’s mental health if the pandemic were to continue in similar conditions for an extended period of time. These concerns are to be considered if the global situation does not positively change in the near future.

With all these studies, we are not really optimistic, but hopefully researchers do know how to fight these negative consequences. Either psychologically or physically, everybody on the planet has suffered from this pandemic. Measures and restrictions help to protect the world from the virus. By following the recommendations, the situation gets better, and optimism comes back. After the end of this global pandemic, no one really knows what the psychological consequences will be. Only speculations can be stated, but these previsions are unclear for now. Some researchers even state that the current consequences may not last in the long term. It is a lesson to learn, and the world can optimistically hope for a better future.


About the author:

Hi you who is reading this. My name is Philippe Nakov. I am French and Macedonian, and I currently live in Zagreb, Croatia. I have spent my entire life in France, from whom I moved in 2018. I have many origins in Europe, especially in the former Yugoslav Republics, which are giving me a very hybrid culture. My two native languages are French and Macedonian, but I also speak English, Serbian, Croatian and Bulgarian fluently. I also learn German since 2016. In fact, I started learning English pretty late, in 7th grade, compared to other students abroad. Even though I started learning languages a little later than other students, I am very interested in them, and maybe, who knows, I will study them later. I have always been interested in history and geography at school, but also various other subjects. I have never been bored of learning. In total, I have spent approximately a third of my life in Macedonia, and I actually never lived there, except for travelling on holidays. Through this travelling, it permitted me to discover a lot of countries and cultures, and also friends. Technically, I have friends in countries I never visited, and I think it is great. I love reading books and watching movies. I also read a lot of newspapers every day, from various places, which keeps me practicing the languages I already know. I love writing also, and this journalism project offered me an opportunity to do that; and even if I have not done that too much in the past, I see it as an opportunity to learn. I hope that you will find my articles interesting and enjoy them as much as I enjoy writing them!