03. November 2020
Corona infection figures in Germany are rising rapidly. After a brief respite in the summer, safety and hygiene precautions are now being tightened again as part of the November lockdown. It is a setback for all of us, even though it was to be expected. Instead of hard facts, figures and regulations, this article will highlight the emotional and psychological components of the pandemic.
Probably the most significant psychological component of the Corona pandemic is the real and, unfortunately, partly well-founded fear of a severe infection. High-risk patients with pre-existing conditions, in particular, have now been exposed to this fear for some time. In addition, many people naturally worry about their relatives. No one wants to lose their parents, grandparents or other people in their close environment due to a severe corona infection.
What does it do to us humans when we worry over a long period of time? On a physical level, prolonged anxiety leads to increased stress levels. The body then releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In the long run, this is harmful to our system. We are more susceptible to illness and the constant state of alarm wears down our mental and physical performance (Schandry, 2011). In addition, there is a danger that the worry spirals take on a life of their own, so to speak. We then lose control of our anxiety thoughts and can develop anxiety disorder.
Social contacts reduce during the period of intensified measures. Events and celebrations are canceled, weekly get-togethers are cancelled, and attendance diminishes. Of course, this serves the overall purpose of keeping infection numbers at a manageable level. Nevertheless, we lack social contacts. Loneliness and isolation can set in. This depresses the mood and can, on one hand, aggravate already existing mental illnesses or promote their new emergence on the other. The Association of German Psychologists (BDP) has already identified an increase in mental illness. The telephone hotline set up at the height of the pandemic was used a great deal, which speaks to a sense of worry and anxiety among the population.
We have to accept some limitations in the Corona pandemic. This is a very new and unpleasant experience for many. We are limited in our freedom and even if the vast majority of people consider this necessary and sensible, it can be burdensome. Many feel gratitude, for the standard of living we know. But they are also melancholy, subdued in mood, and understandably worried about their future. Most notable here are people whose economic livelihoods are threatened by the renewed harsh rules of the November lockdown.
Experts believe that the restrictions imposed by the pandemic are traumatizing. Within a very short time, all of our lives have been severely affected. We should not underestimate this burden and, even more than usual, take time for ourselves and actively work on coping with the situation.
Don’t we already think about how nice it would be to take a trip again? To lie on the beach completely carefree and just relax? Or to arrange a big celebration, with all dear people and carefree and detached to dance?
We are almost certainly not alone in that. Unfortunately, the reality is different and we have to endure this “dry spell” until further notice. However, the hope for an effective drug, a decrease in the number of infections or even a vaccine remains. Until then, it is a matter of making it a good time at home with the remaining options. Tips for getting through the crisis well can be found at the end of the article.
Interestingly, many people report that the forced deceleration has also done them good. For example, families have been able to enjoy much more time together than is usually the case in stressful everyday life. Even if we miss a lot of things, the somewhat emptier schedule also has its good sides. More time and space has been created for self-reflection, self-care and maintaining really close social contacts.
Working life has also changed for the better for many. The Corona pandemic has driven digitization and has been a departure for many employers into more flexible working models, for example, through home working or switching to digital formats. Nonetheless, not everyone is equally happy in the home working. Some people find that the ceiling falls on their heads at home and they miss their collegial environment.
Opinions are divided to a certain extent about the proportionality of the measures. The discussions in the political arena reflect this. In addition, the pandemic provides a breeding ground for conspiracy theories and anti-democratic currents. It is increasingly common to encounter people with whom we do not share our opinion regarding the Corona pandemic and protective measures. The question is how to deal with these different opinions. Dialogue with each other is certainly always useful. Just listening to each other and trying to understand the other’s point of view can be a helpful step. Even if opinions differ greatly, common manners and mutual respect should be maintained.
In the end, it can sometimes just be a case of “Let’s agree to disagree,” which means “Let’s agree to disagree”. The final clarity of what was helpful in the pandemic and what was not will probably only come in a few years’ time, when the pandemic has been overcome or else is under control.
The second wave of the Corona pandemic is making times seem not very nice right now. Everyone is bearing the brunt of the Corona pandemic and everyone would like to see an immediate end to the pandemic. But, it’s no use, we have to do our best to get through this time as physically and mentally unscathed as possible. We have put together a few tips, thought-provoking ideas and suggestions that can help you now. In addition, we encourage you to read our article titled “Coping with difficult thoughts“. There, too, you will find help in dealing with worries and fears.
We wish you that they come through these difficult times healthy and in reasonably good spirits. Do not let yourself get down!