Coronavirus

Social distancing - Crisis resistance in single households

Many people live on their own. For them, the need to keep their distance during the Corona pandemic poses a particular challenge, especially when they no longer meet colleagues by chance in the kitchen or printer room due to working from home.

Every crisis feeds uncertainty

Like any state of emergency, the current COVID-19 situation offers the ideal breeding ground for worries, fears and insecurity: When can we return to our "normal" life? What will my life be like after the pandemic? What happens if I get infected or my parents or friends get sick?

Turn sorrow into strength

The first commandment of the hour: Keep calm. It is perfectly normal to go through such thoughts in a crisis situation like the one we are experiencing right now. In one way, they even help us in a crisis. Concern for one's own health, for our family and friends can provide support. Those who know why social distance is important can more easily endure their need for closeness and company. Psychologists stress that it is also important to accept negative feelings (1).  It sounds paradoxical: if you allow yourself to feel weak and vulnerable, you gain strength.

Alone, not lonely

A lot depends on how we perceive and deal with our situation. Do we stay in touch with our friends and colleagues by phone or e-mail? Or do we feel isolated and lonely due to the restriction of contact? If that is the case, the alarm bells should be ringing: Various studies show that loneliness can make you sick (2). For people who live alone and are prone to depression, contact restrictions can increase such feelings of loneliness and set off the famous carousel of negative thoughts. But it does not have to come to that.

The following tips can help you avoid feeling lonely at home alone in the long term:

  • Make sure you have a regular daily routine. Make daily and weekly plans in which you determine when you work, eat and - important! - take a break. Pay particular attention to good sleep hygiene with regular times to get up and go to bed.
  • Reward yourself every day with something that does you good: a book or the next episode of your current favourite series. Or how about a warm bath, a round of yoga or a walk? Some people rediscover old passions like building model cars ordoing jigsaws. What do you fancy?
  • Cultivate friendships. Today, there are more channels than ever before to get in touch with other people, from video calls to chat services to handwritten letters.

  • Regular team meetings are at least as important in the home office as in the office. If your supervisor doesn't call you regularly, just call them - or simply arrange calls yourself with your colleagues. Then don't just talk about professional matters, but treat yourself - just like in the office - to a little small talk or gossip ;-).

  • If you are prone to depression or if you notice that fears and negative thoughts take up too muchtime: don't be afraid to ask for help.

 

 

How does Social Distancing affect the human psyche?

Isolation and fear are multiconnected in the current COVID-19 situation. The development of fear is affected by the pandemic that causes isolation, and isolation in turn contributes to the increase of fear and tension.. It certainly poses a risk to people's mental health, but it does not necessarily lead to depression.

What should people pay attention to who are afraid of Corona?

Above all, it is important to emphasize that anxiety, concerns, discomfort, tension are normal reactions in abnormal circumstances. A regular daily routine, consciously not allowing negative thoughts and actively turning to an activity can help to avoid getting into a "thought carousel”.

What else is important to you?

There is some soul of goodness in evil things, so it is important now to get the best we can out of this situation, exert our best potentials, as well as learn some lessons. It applies also to humanity as a whole, related to responsible behavior towards nature and the community, as well as promoting important and neglected life values that are certainly not reducible to productivity and accumulation of material goods. It is a challenge for people to stop and face ourselves in self-isolation, learn to be a good company to ourselves, review our lives when we are not burdened with obligations and duties, re-examine what really matters to us, what and who is missing in our life, learn new things and do what we love, and what we usually postpone. To develop a form of mindfulness for oneself and the appeal to do positive things that do good.

Quellen:

(1) http://www.fondacijahemofarm.org.rs/eng/blog/474/The-crisis-can-also-be-a-chance-for-a-fresh-start

(2) Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB (2010) Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLoS Med 7(7): e1000316. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316

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