The last two years of the pandemic-panic have been an irrevocably chaotic period of time for all of us, our very own ‘Multiverse of madness’. And yet, we are still managing to see each other on the other side of the tunnel, where there is hope, flaming health, and happiness. That being said, it will be foolish to deny the amount of toll this pandemic has taken on us. All of us, the millennials, GenZ. Every one.
In addition to the health challenges, there have been whirling worries about economic disruptions, and social and cultural unrest. Not to mention, the interpersonal communication amongst people has taken a backseat in these two-plus years, causing cracks in every relationship. The stress has been undeniable.
And yet, it can be safe to say that GenZ, namely younger individuals, has taken the brunt of the stress during the pandemic, even more so than GenX and the Millennials. Standing from a societal point, the Covid-19 had initially cut off individuals from social gatherings, and in turn, networking which affected the GenZ the most, affecting their friendship, relationships, and work connections. With the shutting down of schools and colleges, the younger generation had been forced to stand at the precipice of uncertainty and fear of their education and the dwindling opportunities for careers.
‘Not knowing’ is the potential factor of stress for the GenZ when it comes to the pandemic. Mixing that with having to stay at home constantly has been detrimental to their hobbies, dating life, friendships, physical and mental health, and everything that a young individual needs to have.
According to several surveys and polls conducted during the pandemic, including one conducted by Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, GenZ has experienced 25% more stress than the older generation, with a bleaker life outlook and ‘lower levels of emotional and social well-being;’ proning them to more and more behavioral and health disorder.
Now, the bigger question is whether GenZ would be able to recover from the pandemic stress?
The answer is highly subjective. Although, it is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. The one thing that GenZ has proved time and again is their flexibility in adjusting to new situations, adapting themselves according to the needs of the world. Now, with Covid, the world had come to a halt for a certain period of time, adjusting to the resuming of the fast pace of the world might be a challenge for many, especially with the hybrid online/offline mode of life but it is prudent to say the GenZ will be able to pull through.
What will take a blow is the social relations, emotional repression caused by the prolonged stress might lead to social depression and anxiety, including suicidal tendencies. Covid-19 has been a dominant catalyst in poor mental health that might continue to affect individuals on different levels if not reached out. The lockdown has developed different coping mechanisms for individuals. Obsessive addiction to social media, OTT platforms had grown manifolds during this time, which will impact negatively this particular section of the society, especially due to the suddenness in the change of pace from the house-caged slowness to compensating the past inflation.
Recovering from the stress is not definitive. Social Darwinism comes to play a role here, ‘Survival of the fittest.’ While the mental health of GenZ will still be questionable for a certain time, getting the normalcy back as it was two years ago definitely helps curb social depression. That being said, it is significant for every individual to reach out for help where required and let oneself heal.