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Psychologist: people were completely unprepared for self-isolation

Igor Lyubachevsky told how not to go crazy during quarantine and use the new mode with benefit

Residents of Russia have been on forced weekends in locked apartments for several days now. Now, self-isolation measures due to coronavirus have been extended to the end of the month. Clinical psychologist Igor Lyubachevsky in an interview with EastRussia told how to adopt the new regime and use the free time that has appeared for the benefit of yourself and others.

Psychologist: people were completely unprepared for self-isolation
Photo: pixabay.com

- Why is self-isolation so perceived so painfully by many?

- If we talk about young people under 40 and adolescents, then isolation is the most difficult for them. It must be understood that if this were our measure, an independent decision, then this would be experienced much easier. But when this measure is forced, disciplining, then this is another matter.

Self-isolation is a measure to relieve tremendous stress on health during an epidemic. This is important to understand, this is a way to show real civic solidarity. Over the past 30 years, society has never been so close to each other in a common misfortune. Therefore, it is so worrisome, causes protest, disbelief and adolescent fatalism. It is terrible to believe that there is something that is larger than us and something depends on us. This is such an evil irony of democracy. Therefore, it is so important to be disciplined.

If we are talking about a necessary measure, we are faced with several things: ignorance of what to do with ourselves, constantly with close and sometimes annoying relatives who were unexpectedly close. This causes a lot of conflicting feelings. But first of all, we are faced with forced loneliness. The second is growing irritation due to unfreedom. And the third is emotional hunger in the vicinity, because it turns out that we are very social people, that we do not have enough hiking, walking, living people. This causes tremendous stress for everyone who is in self-isolation mode.


- What to do so as not to stick out at all?

- There are several life hacks. First, you need to discuss in the family the rules by which she will live for the time of isolation. If you intend to live in such a regime in a hurry, then very quickly it turns into a scandal, because someone did not say something, did not agree, did not report his mood, and gradually the tension develops into quarrels.

Some people think that isolation brings people together, but in reality this is not so. Isolation, on the contrary, alienates people, because we are forced to collide with each other, even when we do not want to. Therefore, it is desirable to establish the boundaries of communication, staying in rooms, inform your partner and children about your mood, choose things that captivate and allow you to separate from your family, which is always at home. Many in this respect say that they did not think that it would be so difficult to live with a person whom they chose for life, for two whole weeks. We are beginning to understand that in ordinary life there is not much contact. And then concentrated communication scares, annoys and scares. Therefore, borders are very important.

The second life hack - determine the prospects. There is no social isolation, because there is communication, the Internet, a huge amount of information. Therefore, it is important to filter it, set social filters that will help to survive this not as being in a bunker.

Need to evaluate the prospects. If you are an entrepreneur, then think about how you will plan your business in the future, if you are an ordinary family - think about how you will continue to make a schedule for children. It is important to have a perspective. It is advisable to talk about this in order to understand what will happen next and what to do in the future. This supports the family well, because the fear of uncertainty in a confined space is akin to a grenade explosion. And it is best to deal with uncertainty by independently introducing certainty into life, work, life, future, finances.

Third tip - use your free time with discipline. Many now advise self-development, but in fact most people use time in self-isolation for procrastination. People faced freedom, which they were not ready for. Now a really huge number of courses has become free, and people are faced with the fact that, indeed, something needs to be done. Until that time, it was busy with life, and it seemed that there would be time, I’ll take care of it, but it’s not so. Now it’s important to understand that you can use time a little in a new way. Give yourself a chance to see something new: see, teach. Now many people are switching to online resources for training and this is great, but it takes effort. Do not blame yourself for not doing anything. Do not connect this with the fact that you are lazy, but connect with the fact that a new experience is always difficult.

It is also very important in self-isolation to look for new sources and methods of contact. We need a sense of unity, which is why we are so touched by the video as Italians in isolation sing on balconies, or how someone dances at home. This causes the right feeling of unity. New sources of contact can be a joint game or cooking with friends via video. Telephone calls do not always help, because they are familiar and not enough.

Self-isolation for all of us is a completely new experience. I do not recommend taking this negatively; you need to be understanding and calm. Look at this not as a source of struggle or a world conspiracy, but as a new experience. True, we were completely unprepared for this. But two things will save: the search for new ways of interacting with people and discipline, which is reflected not only in maintaining the regime, but also in taking care of yourself. From the point of view of psychotherapy, isolation is a useful way to rediscover and recognize oneself in oneself. Such social asceticism confronts us with existential questions of the meaning of life, our choices, and this is useful at all times. In fact, this has always been the case, we just did not call it self-isolation.



- And why do not many understand the importance of self-isolation, reject it?

- It's all about the main conflict in society between collectivism and individualism. The world offers us to be more individual, and in this we are estranged from each other. When you need to do something together, everyone blames the other. This is a social mechanism called the Witness Effect. It’s just that we are faced with the fact that sometimes group values ​​are more important, and this is very difficult to accept. It is always a matter of choice, so I urge everyone, especially those at risk, to comply with strict quarantine measures.

- You already mentioned family problems during self-isolation. But many do not know how to be with children for so long, how to switch and what to do. What do you advise?

- Children, however, are very tiring when they are bored. They quickly get bored of games, so you need to look for forms of family leisure. No need to try to entertain a child with something - this is an unnerving factor; on the contrary, you need to attract a child to family matters. You can cook, sew together. This is a pleasant family leisure, because during this you can chat, have fun. Playing family games is also fun, but for the time being. But doing some household things is better. The child is well, because he is busy, you - because you do not need to come up with activities for him. Children under 12 years of age tolerate such modes more easily, because they can get carried away with different things, but with teenagers it is already harder, because communication with peers is more important for them. And here again you need to look for new ways of contact.

- Now there is a very large flow of information, mainly about coronavirus. How to behave when news is pouring from all sides, how to protect yourself from negativity?

“Professor Preobrazhensky had a good rule not to start the morning with Soviet newspapers -“ it affects digestion and general mood badly. ” Social networks, especially Facebook, are oversaturated with information about the coronavirus. Switch between social networks: Instagram has less news and more cats, VKontakte is considered a more teenage social network, there are more funny memes. Learn to migrate from different types of information, because you also need to laugh - this ventilates social and emotional stress. Do not leave yourself in the same information field.

But another question arises - how to look for an adequate source of information? For ordinary people, this is a challenge to an adult position on the importance of verifying information. Recently, the monstrous story that helicopters from the air spray disinfectors on cities walked through the chat rooms. There are people who really believe this.

- Tell us how not to succumb to panic, not to buy buckwheat and toilet paper and to behave calmly?

- It is necessary to eliminate the panic with adequate information and prospects, which I spoke about at the beginning. If a person understands that the situation threatens his business, travel, career, then it is necessary to formulate backup plans. This is important and necessary. We are responsible for our future and we need to survive stress throughout the whole country and the whole world. Our calm depends on our actions, therefore we are engaged in the prospect and forecasting of different options.

Also, a society of people that does not panic perfectly helps with panic. It is advisable not to be friends with alarmists - they are tiring and destructive. Chats that have a lot of incredible content are best left. Disinformation has existed at all times. This is the principle of a broken phone that reflects social interactions. Panic spreads, not because someone distributes it, but because people, without checking the information, pass it on. And this is a social crime.

Our reaction to the panic is not only emotional, but also to some extent sociocultural. There is a certain inherited memory of generations that creates certain rituals of security for us. For example, we are getting ready for something, buying something. For us, buying buckwheat is a ritual of how to put a heel under the heel before the exam. Such rituals are designed to create the controllability of life - bought buckwheat, and all is well.

Rituals create a sense of control over life, control over uncertainty. But, probably, we already need other rituals, because there is some kind of craving for food in Russia. Probably preserved from the post-war hungry era. Generations transmit this, and when there is a lot of anxiety, you return to such rituals, because there are no others. Therefore, another recommendation appears - create your own rituals of control over an uncertain situation. Let them not be about food, but about self-development, the formation of plans.

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