A psychologist explains the reasons behind our weird lockdown behaviours

Why is everyone baking banana bread? Why am I tired all the time? Why won’t people stop posting pictures of their workouts? An expert weighs in…
A psychologist explains the reasons behind our weird lockdown behaviours

‘Social distancing’ and ‘self-isolation’ have become the daily lexicon of late, but so has ‘banana bread’, ‘I’m so tired’ and ‘not *another* at-home workout’. Amirite? Weird lockdown behaviours have taken over the ‘Gram, from an incessant amount of baking to needing a nap when 2pm hits like clockwork, and we want to know W. H. Y.

So, we enlisted the help of Dr. Saliha Afridi a clinical psychologist from Lighthouse Arabia, who explained the reasons why a pandemic is effecting our cooking, sleeping and exercise habits…

Why is everyone baking banana bread?

We’d be lying if we said we weren’t on our third batch…

“Firstly, the smell of banana bread is soothing, relaxing, nostalgic, and reminds people of their childhood, or of earlier times,” says Dr. Saliha. “Our olfactory memory is the longest memory and so with the smell of banana bread we can be transported to earlier times of childhood when life was carefree.”

“Secondly, when the body is stressed, eating sugary foods can actually temporarily reduce the stress. When we are stressed our body gets flooded with a hormone called cortisol, and when we eat sugar or carbs we can actually get a hormone called serotonin and dopamine which relaxes us and comforts us. It's literally comfort food.

“Finally, when we are stressed the brain requires more energy and sugar/carbs in banana bread are the fastest way to obtain this.”

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What is it about Banana Bread & quarantine? . . It’s definitely one of the most frequently baked cakes & I thought I would join the band wagon too. I mean if we are all united by staying at home, why not also unite by eating banana bread in all its versions . . So onto the recipe of this COCONUT CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA BREAD Mash 2 ripe bananas in a bowl Whisk in 3 eggs, 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter & 3 tbsp honey In a separate bowl, mix 2 cups almond flour, 1/2 cup coconut shreds, 3 tsps baking powder, 1/2 tsp sea salt Mix into the wet ingredients Once well mixed, fold in the 1/2 cup of semi-dark chocolate chips Line a bread pan with parchment paper, add the batter and spread evenly. Top with a few chocolate chips. Pop in oven at 180 degree C for 30-35 mins. Once done, remove from oven and wait 10 mins before slicing. #unitedforbananabread

A post shared by ZEINA MAKTABI• زينة مكتبي (@upcloseandhealthy) on

Why won’t people stop posting pictures of their workouts on IG Story?

Amidst all the social media-ing going on at the moment, there’s one post appears with particular frequency: the daily WOD (that’s ‘workout of the day’ to you and I). But have you noticed that some people are posting their workouts way more than usual? And some are even posting their workouts when you’ve never so much as seen them do a sit-up?

“People post their workouts because they seek validation and a pat on the back about what they accomplished that day,” explains Dr. Saliha. “They are not used to working out at home so it is an accomplishment for them in one way or another - whether in the act of working out at home or how creative they are being about their workout.”

“Another reason could be that usually they share other parts of their day on Instagram, but since they don’t have a lot of other activities going on at the moment, they are sharing their gym workouts and their homecooked meals just to keep their followers engaged."

Why do I feel more tired at the end of a day of doing nothing in lockdown?

“Being physically tired is different from feeling mentally exhausted. Right now many people are online, which puts a physical strain on our body, eyes, and mind. This also makes us more susceptible to ‘doing a lot with our mind’ when we are reading, or consuming content online or on social media.”

“Our mind and body are connected and although our brain is just 2% of our body weight it actually consumes half of our daily carbohydrate requirements. This energy requirement actually increases by 12 % in times of stress, transition or when the mind has to adapt to a new way of being. So you could actually be lying in bed, worried, stressed, reading or being productive online and be exhausted by the end of the day because your brain used up all your energy!”