Currently, people are faced with the threat of infection; many were forced to change their usual lifestyle. Naturally, all this can lead to a feeling of anxiety. Restrictions come into our life that we could not have imagined before, restrictions on movement, switching to a remote learning format, inability to communicate live with the loved ones who do not live nearby.
All these unsolicited and sudden changes that interrupted the usual course of our lives, could cause many subjectively unpleasant conditions: disbelief; intense anxieties about health and life; anger; irritation; they can be alternate with bouts of fatigue, longing, depression and helplessness.
We are faced with the loss of our usual way of life, in which we could plan our future at least for a while ahead. Now the situation has changed, we have lost confidence in the ability to control our own lives and the feeling of security and emotional well-being has significantly decreased. Today it is becoming clear that the existing restrictions will be lasting, and our lifestyle has to change. From the initial shock and disbelief, we are now coming to a situation in which we, apparently, will have to exist indefinitely for a long time, thus having to adapt to changing conditions.
We would like to offer some basic psychological recommendations, guidelines on how to support ourselves and our loved ones in this difficult period.
Remember that experiencing anxiety in this situation is normal! This is a natural reaction to the circumstances.
It is important to determine an approximate sequence of actions during the day, establish a routine and, if possible, observe it. For those who work or study, it makes sense to observe daily rituals. For example, the ritual of going to work or school, changing clothes from home to business attire. If possible, it is recommended that you move from one space to another. If your housing allows it, it would be good to allocate specific zones for various activities: recreation, work, communication, eating.
- It is important to include a rest time in your schedule. Normal nutrition, good sleep, and least some physical activity will help maintain a resource state and health. The usual routine creates a feeling of stability and control over our lives. Structuring time and space allows us to build a connection with our usual life, to maintain a sense of normalcy.
- Focus on pleasant details, do what usually brings joy.
- It is very important not to overwork yourself. Many are encouraged to regard this period as an opportunity for personal and professional growth. Everywhere we see offers of classes, opportunities to go on virtual tours of museums, theaters and operas. If you have time and effort for this, great, but for the most of us, study and work take no less time than before, with even more household chores added. And to fulfill the plans for self-improvement, there is simply no time or energy left, which often leads to the feeling of irritation. Do not set those ambitious goals now!
- Now we have an additional source of anxiety - new tasks related to the distance learning or remote work. A lot of assistance is provided to teachers in organizing distance learning, conducting and recording lectures and seminars. This greatly facilitates the new situation. If questions and difficulties arise, do not hesitate to consult with colleagues.
• Difficulties may arise in communicating with students. Often there are complaints that lectures are held without the usual feedback from the group. But even in the new situation, it is possible to awaken the students' activity to communicate with the teacher, it is important to ask them questions more often, not to be afraid to make a joke, clarify whether they understand everything. Many teachers have already developed their own methods of new forms of conversation; perhaps it makes sense to talk with colleagues about this topic.
• Students have similar problems. Remember that the teacher is also interested in your questions, do not be afraid to ask them. Give the teachers immediate feedback on cases when something is difficult for you, especially when receiving new assignments.
Your questions will help not only you, but also the teachers thus increasing mutual motivation to learn in a new difficult situation for both sides.
- It is also important not to overload your relationships with the loved ones, especially those who you have been with for a long time. Situational conflicts, quarrels, outbursts of irritation in this situation are a normal, somewhat even logical reaction to a long regime of self-isolation. Remember that each person sometimes needs to be alone, so be attentive to your loved ones and respect the personal boundaries.
- Establish a conscious approach to the volume and quality of pandemic information. The information field in which we exist now feeds on anxiety and enhances the feeling of uncertainty It contains a lot of frightening and contradictory information. We cannot completely protect ourselves from information about the current situation, because we must stay in touch with reality, but immersing ourselves completely in the information space is not useful. It is important to determine a sufficient amount of information that does not overload you and the sources from which you receive it. Choose reliable sources, do not hesitate to compare your ideas about them with the people you trust.
• In situations of anxiety, communication with friends, relatives, and colleagues goes a long way, especially with those you trust. Live communication is now limited but still exists, and the opportunities for on-line communication have opened for the first time for some people.
- It is very important in any situation not to lose your sense of humor and confidence that this crisis situation is not endless. Therefore, it is very good to build plans for the future without setting final dates for yourself so that there is no disappointment.
- In this long period, it is important to take care of yourself and keep your resource batteries charged!
Vygotsky Institute of Psychology