General, Research, Technology

How to stay at home during a pandemic and not go crazy - tips from psychologists

Our world is an unimaginably fragile place, but in fullleast you understand this only in a crisis situation. Who would have thought just a couple of months ago that it would become so dangerous to go out that many governments recommend, and some forbid, people from leaving their homes? People around the world are sick with CoVID-19, and those who are healthy try not to leave home without urgent need. However, despite the effectiveness of strict quarantine measures, for a large number of people, a permanent stay at home can be a serious test. Social networks are full of articles on what to do at home, how not to swear with relatives and survive quarantine. But isn’t the house the safest place, that very fortress? And how do scientists explain the fact that many today are very difficult?

Sitting at home wasn’t as easy as everyone thought.


  • 1 Self-isolation, social distance, quarantine and observance - what is the difference?
    • 1.1 What is quarantine?
    • 1.2 What is Observation?
    • 1.3 What is self-isolation
    • 1.4 What is social distance?
  • 2 The consequences of quarantine for the psyche
  • 3 What to do in quarantine?

Self-isolation, social distance, quarantine and observance - what is the difference?

At the time of this writing, most streetsThe cities of the world are almost empty. I don’t know what exactly convinced people that the situation is serious, but this awareness pleases. Perhaps there was a realization that anyone could become seriously ill and that they would face not only the invisible enemy of SARS-CoV-2, but also the serious economic consequences of the pandemic. However, the spread of a previously unknown virus does not mean the end of the world. First, humanity has been fighting invisible infectious agents throughout its history, and so far the victory is ours. Secondly, no pandemic can last forever. Thirdly, modern science allows us to invent a vaccine against the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which scientists all over the world are already doing. Fourth, you should pay attention to the experience of countries that are successfully coping with the spread of CoVID-19, such as South Korea and China.

Putting all the factors together, awareness comesthat fear is normal and that we will not sit at home forever. And if some people self-isolation does not bother and does not cause significant problems, then for others it is really a difficult time. As the experience of European countries, in particular Italy, shows that recommendations not to leave home do not always work, as people do not follow social distance. But before moving on to discussing a forced “house arrest,” let's look at the terminology. So, how are quarantine, isolation, and social distance different from each other? Despite the fact that all these terms have one goal, they mean all the same different things.

What is quarantine?

ABOUT quarantine we are talking about when a person was in contact withinfected, and therefore could be exposed to the virus. As a rule, in this situation it is recommended to stay at home or in an institution provided by the state for 14 days. Two weeks later, if suspicion of coronavirus is not confirmed and symptoms do not appear, quarantine is not necessary.

”Do not leave the room; consider that you blew. What is more interesting in the light of the wall and the chair? ” Quarantine is an excellent occasion to read Joseph Brodsky’s poems

What is observational?

Observation Is a medical observation of people who havesuspect an infectious disease, or who have been in contact with sick people. It is important to understand that observation involves isolation of a person, but not his hospitalization in a hospital. If a person is sick, but does not need constant medical care, then quarantine can be replaced by observation. This means that the person will be in isolation for 14 days (in the case of the new coronavirus).

What is self-isolation

Self isolation this is a measure to which a person resortsindependently - that is, voluntarily decides to stay at home so as not to contact with other people, not to infect them or not to become infected himself. Self-isolation implies a permanent stay at home and reduced contact with other people. In the case when a courier brings food to his house - which is popular in a pandemic - all interactions between people are carried out contactlessly and at a distance. Self-isolation also includes people who have been in contact with infected people, even if they feel good. Do not forget that the new coronavirus is very insidious and in some cases the symptoms may not appear, but the person remains contagious to others.

What is social distance?

In a pandemic, doctors, police, firefightersand grocery store vendors continue to work, putting themselves at risk. Since all people one way or another periodically go out into the street - to the pharmacy, store or throw out the trash, they should keep from each other at a distance of 1.5 - 2 meters. Social distance today it is a manifestation of respect, love and care for people around us, since it is impossible to know for sure who is infected, who can become infected and whose disease will be difficult.

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How many people have you seen on the street when inthe last time you looked out the window? Surely almost all the passers-by were wearing protective masks and gloves. Some especially knowledgeable citizens put on glasses before leaving the house, since the coronavirus is able to penetrate the human body through the mucous membrane of the eye. At the same time, despite anxiety, anxiety and fear due to invisible danger, each exit from the house is a little joy and the opportunity to breathe fresh air. By the way, the CoVID-19 pandemic, though not for long, made the air on our planet cleaner. And so much so that it is noticeable in satellite images. Read more in our material.

Strict quarantine measures make the lives of many people in difficult situations even harder

The consequences of quarantine for the psyche

World Health Organization experts(WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend changing your usual behavior by restricting physical contact with people, staying at home, not going to parks, playgrounds and, if possible, going to stores, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds to reduce stress on the healthcare system. It turns out that everyone knows that this is necessary. So why is it hard?

According to leading experts, the main reason is that we just like being around other people. Otherwise, loneliness would not be such an international crisis. People feel bad without other people. Communication allows you to maintain socialcommunication, which made possible the survival of Homo sapiens as a species. It is not surprising that in such difficult moments as today, we want to unite, to be close to each other. However, this is one of the toughest turns of the new coronavirus pandemic: experts note that it can be physically difficult for people to be isolated for a long time. In addition, there is another reason why it is so difficult to follow the recommendations: you need to change your own behavior overnight. We were not prepared for this at least.

According to Neil Greenberg, a psychiatrist fromImperial College London, we can enjoy staying at home when we are in control and we can afford not to go to a party or to visit. But when staying indoors is a prerequisite, it can badly affect the psyche. However, for most people, unpleasant effects will resolve on their own. Although quarantine upsets and annoys us, it usually does not lead to long-term mental health problems.
And yet for some, prolonged isolation mayhave serious consequences. According to Greenberg in a paper published in The Lancet, scientists reviewed 24 scientific articles about the effects of quarantine. They found that this experience could cause post-traumatic stress, confusion, numbness, grief, anger, and insomnia. Moreover, people who are deprived of constant contact with the outside world, financial support during the crisis and information about when it will all end are more at risk of developing anxiety disorder and depression.

Stay in isolation - albeit voluntary -it is a difficult test for the mind and body. Being social beings during the day, many of us actively interact with others. When the situation changes dramatically and you have to do office work from home, but you cannot go outside, you can panic. As Neil Greenberg writes in his work, one of the most important things that can be done by spending a lot of time at home is to set the daily routine. So, if you work from home, set a clear schedule to end work at the end of the day. It is also important to maintain the familiar routine of training and physical activity, and communication with friends, family and colleagues can be continued in digital format.

Of course, live communication can not replace anything, but you can survive temporary isolation, especially in the era of the Internet

Competent work and rest, as well as the surroundingenvironment, form our mental and physical health. We must not forget that we all need access to natural light, a comfortable indoor temperature and good air quality in order to feel active and healthy. Things seemingly insignificant at first glance, such as indoor plants or music that is pleasant to work under, can help not lose motivation. However, personal space remains an equally important factor for well-being. Each of us needs enough space to quietly move around the house throughout the day and not feel uncomfortable. In this case, you do not need to be the owner of a 24-room mansion in order to feel good.

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And yet there is no doubt that the transitionfrom ordinary life to quarantine, even if not for a long time, it will be difficult. Francis Kuo, a professor of natural resources and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois, is researching a healthy human environment. Isolation is not easy, but comfort can still be found outside by observing social distance. Whether it’s a small avenue with several trees or the nearest park, even a 10-minute stay outside four walls is good for your health — heart rate, blood pressure and the production of stress hormones decrease during walking. But the most important thing is that while spending time outside the home, especially in nature, we feel more connected with the rest of the world. You must admit that this is really good advice, so the next time you are planning to go outside, carefully consider your route, even if you can’t go far from home.

What to do in quarantine?

Proper nutrition, meditation, exercise and communication with loved ones will help in the fight against anxiety and stress, which means strengthen immunity

This may surprise you, but WHO experts adviseplay computer games during quarantine. Together with video game developers, WHO launched the #PlayApartTogether initiative, which called on people to play video games to brighten up their isolation mode during the CoVID-19 pandemic. According to WHO experts, the games will help people communicate with each other and spend time together without contact in real life. Moreover, recently WHO issued recommendations on comfortable quarantine compliance, which also recommends reading and watching news less often, as this can cause growing concern. We talked in detail about all the advice of specialists of the World Health Organization on how to maintain the health of mind and body during this difficult time, in our material.

In general, experts advise to treattemporary self-isolation is not a punishment. No need to be afraid to spend time alone with yourself, use quarantine as an opportunity to find out what you really want and what is really interesting. Try to keep a diary - write down in it all the thoughts that come to mind. It is possible that over time you will discover hidden talents in yourself, which in the future may allow you to change your occupation and point to new horizons.

Needless to say, quarantine can be done withbenefit - you can do long-delayed business. Start reading the thickest book that is gathering dust on a bookshelf or, if for some reason you missed several seasons of your favorite series, then do not deny yourself this pleasure and sit back in front of the TV. Enjoy simple things - listen to music, draw, play musical instruments, learn foreign languages. The pandemic will certainly end, but future memories of this difficult time depend only on us.