Feel like you’re the same age as before coronavirus struck? You’re going through the ‘pandemic skip’ | Life-style News

If you ask me what my age is, my first answer would be 20. No, it’s not because I’m scared of ageing. I truly do think age is just a number. So, why pray tell, does my brain propel me to tell other people I’m a half-baked adult teenager? Unfortunately, as is the answer to many of our mental health-related questions these days, it is because of the pandemic. My body may have grown but my brain is still firmly planted in the year when the pandemic first struck and our lives were upended as if we lived in a version of the Upside Down from Stranger Things. 

American magazine The Cut has named this phenomenon the ‘pandemic skip.’ “This pandemic skip — the strange sensation that our bodies might be a step out of sync with our minds — happened to people of all ages.”

Dr Rohan Kumar, consultant psychiatrist, Regency Hospital explains it as a psychological phenomenon where individuals feel stagnant, in terms of personal growth or development.

“From a psychiatric perspective, it can be linked to a disruption in the normal markers of progress and the collective trauma experienced during the pandemic,” he tells indianexpress.com in an interaction.

pandemic skip Psychotherapy can be beneficial for exploring and understanding these feelings (Source: Freepik)

Is it normal to feel this way?

Dr Shuchin Bajaj, founder-director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, notes that the pandemic skip could be linked to prolonged stress affecting our perception of time. “Stress hormones may alter our sense of temporal awareness, contributing to this feeling.”

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Feeling stuck or disconnected from personal growth is a common psychological response to prolonged stress, says Dr Kumar. “Many of my patients have shared their experiences with the pandemic skip, expressing concerns about a lack of achievement or progress during this challenging time.”

He adds that the pandemic has highlighted and intensified existing gender disparities, contributing to a heightened sense of pressure on women to balance various responsibilities.

This could have intensified the impact of the pandemic skip, creating a sense of inadequacy, says Dr Bajaj.

How can you cope with this and realign your brain with your body?

Psychotherapy can be beneficial for exploring and understanding these feelings, says Dr Kumar.

Developing coping strategies, setting achievable goals, and fostering a supportive network can help individuals, particularly women, navigate the pressure associated with the pandemic skip, he adds. “Additionally, mindfulness techniques and self-reflection can aid in realigning one’s sense of self with the current reality.”

Dr Bajaj emphasises on acknowledging the stressors, and focusing on self-care as it can help realign one’s perception of time with their actual experiences.

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First published on: 25-11-2023 at 13:00 IST

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