2020 has been the year of the virus, and it will not be a mere footnote in history. This book reflects on the unprecedented changes to our lives and the impact on our behaviour as we lived through social isolation during the global COVID-19 pandemic. From sociable creatures of habit, we were forced into a period of uncertainty, restriction and risk, physically separated from families and friends.

Packed with guidance and coping strategies for lockdown, this book, authored by top psychologist David Cohen, explores the impact of this widespread quarantine on our relationships, our children, our mental health and our daily lives. Benedictine monks, hermit popes, Dorothy Sayers, Daniel Defoe (who made the isolated Robinson Crusoe a hero), Sigmund Freud and a rabbi’s angry dog are all among the cast of characters as we are taken on a whistle-stop tour through plagues in history and brain science, to the importance of introspection and how to make meaning from lockdown. In his trademark entertaining style, Cohen examines the psychology behind our behaviour during this unusual time to discover what we can learn about human nature, what lessons we can learn for the future – and whether we will apply them.

chapter |12 pages


chapter Chapter 1|7 pages

Anxiety and the brain

Taking control of your fears

chapter Chapter 2|7 pages

The effects of solitude

Case studies in isolation

chapter Chapter 3|8 pages

Plagues through history

The past and its lessons for us

chapter Chapter 4|10 pages

Variations in the national response to pandemics

Paths to success or failure

chapter Chapter 5|4 pages

Love in the time of plague

How social isolation can affect our relationships and sex life

chapter Chapter 6|9 pages

Tensions during lockdown

Anger, irritation and emotional intelligence

chapter Chapter 7|10 pages

The impact of lockdown on children

Attachment, mental health and resilience

chapter Chapter 8|9 pages

Introspection is inevitable

Mood regulation, dreams and personal responses

chapter Chapter 9|5 pages

Money fears and how to cope with them

Connecting financial security and mental health

chapter Chapter 10|4 pages

My home is my office

Working from home as the new normal?

chapter Chapter 11|5 pages

Exercise your endorphins

How physical activity can affect mood

chapter Chapter 12|8 pages

Physical exercise

Ideas for indoor activities

chapter Chapter 13|5 pages

Making the most of lockdown

Study something new

chapter Chapter 14|6 pages

The experiment

What the pandemic has taught us so far about human nature