Bingeing on nostalgic movies, music and shows has been a strange side effect of the pandemic. Psychologists explain why this is a good thing.
No matter your approach to the pandemic, you’ve likely had to get creative with your free time. When lockdown was first enforced people were spending lots of time watching movies and shows, at times old releases, since Hollywood has been stuck in limbo for the entire year. While summer offered some reprieve and the ability to enjoy the outdoors, now that the weather is changing, we’re all experiencing a very depressing sense of deja vu. It feels like the pandemic is starting all over again.
The New York Times reports one interesting trend that has been experienced by people all over the world: nostalgia, particularly from music, movies and shows from the 80s and 90s. People all over the world, like 31-year-old Anna Townsend from Atlanta, GA, have been relying on content from their formative years to provide them with a sense of security. “It’s something to numb your mind a little bit. You can just spend one hour and 45 minutes zoning out.”
Drive-in theaters, which have been incredibly popular during the pandemic, have been screening films like The Empire Strikes Back, Jurassic Park and Back to The Future, not only because there’s not a lot of new movies to screen, but because that’s what people want to see.
“We feel that we have lost footing at the present time, and we gain some comfort by taking a step back and revisiting something that reminds us of a time that we used to feel more connected with other people,” explains Dr. Wing Yee Cheung, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Winchester. “It gives you energy to cope with what is going on now and move forward.”
Getting lost in a childhood favorite, whether that’s regressing to your Backstreet Boys obsession or spending hours invested in a favorite old show, can provide some refuge in times of stress. It’s also a healthier coping mechanism than drinking yourself to sleep or watching the news on a loop while you clutch your chest. That feeling of familiarity that something you reliably love and enjoy is especially reassuring when faced with all of the foreignness that surrounds us. It takes you back to simpler times.