child on tricycleWhy is it the Corona Virus appears to have turned everyone I know into a 12 year old? It started with my husband. We’d been locked down for about two months before the side effects became obvious. We’d been swimming in the pool and suddenly he climbs the ladder out of the pool and shouts, “Belly flop!” And lands atop the water with a giant splash!

What is going on? I have colleagues who come to me and say, “I don’t usually complain but…” Are you kidding me? Everyone is complaining; everyone is now a tattle-tale. Everyone is displaying some form a regression in their behavior.

Sigmund Freud, the psychoanalyst, explains regression as a defense mechanism used for coping. Well, a lot of people are not coping well with Covid-19.

My adult son, with a family of his own, is suddenly raiding my refrigerator. His son is watching cartoons that are age appropriate for his little brother. The toddler was regressing on potty training and so on. I’m surrounded by people who are not acting their age.

Mentally regressing to an earlier time in life lets us feel the gratification of accomplishment. Something we are not feeling much of during the lock down. We are feeling out of control, so essentially we are experiencing a back slide, if you will, to a time we felt we had some control over our lives.

What can we do about it? First, lessen the stress. Make lists, use a schedule, whatever you need to do to create order of the chaos. For those who are out of work, quit spending the day in bed. Get up and follow a routine. If it is your spouse or children you are worried about. Ease their fears with some normalcy and fun. Play board games, do chores together, walk the dog, dine together at the family table. Most importantly, talk about their fears and concerns.

Before you know it, we all just might start acting our age again. But for those of us who refuse to grow up, I’m heading to the pool. “Belly flop!!!”