Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we have found ourselves in the middle of a nostalgia frenzy. It seemed to permeate everything: nostalgia playlists on music streaming platforms, old albums by Vital Science and Nazia Hassan. Moin Akhter’s loose talk show and mid-2000s memes.
But why is it that we yearn for nostalgic content so desperately, especially during Covid crisis?
According to research studies conducted by University of Southern Denmark, Nostalgic consumption is far more than simply being about the past. This research highlights that nostalgia can be progressive and forward looking, that it doesn’t have to be about being stuck in the past, but can instead be about leveraging the past to create a better present and future.
We are not just nostalgic about what happened before covid but how post-covid period would look like. This dystopian period is exhausting us by throwing past memories in your brain and creating a sense of uncertainty about the future.
Psychological research suggests that experiencing times of crisis can trigger feelings of nostalgia. According to a 2020 study, which tracked the effects COVID-19 has had on individual’s entertainment choices, over 50% of 945 participants said they found comfort in consuming television shows and music from their childhood.
Nostalgia is often used as a coping mechanism to combat loneliness, a familiar feeling to many of us during a time when social interaction is discouraged. Not only that, nostalgia can be beneficial to our mental health, giving us a greater sense of self and continuity.
We’re experiencing a collective trauma, living in a period of limbo where nostalgia is one of the only things we can grasp for feelings of hope. Personally, COVID-19 has made me cling tighter to the emotional security blanket of my youth, which has given me the opportunity to cope with feelings of melancholy. In this time of crisis, when feelings of uncertainty are amplified, dusting off that old sweater in the back of your closet or your favorite song during high school might be just what you need.