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June 2020
15 Min read
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Freedom Seekers. The Impact of Quarantine

Anastasia Permyakova

Client Service Manager Customer experience evaluation 7 years of experience in call-centers - process improvements, KPI’s management, customer service enhancement

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Freedom Seekers. The Impact of Quarantine 18 votes

The outbreak of Coronavirus is a serious threat to public health. Lockdowns and other coordinated restrictive measures are necessary to save lives. 

On average, we’ve already spent 60 days under quarantine. The idea that most of the time would have to be locked up, significantly reducing communication with family, friends and colleagues, caused at least a slight discomfort for many individuals. Mystery shopping agency Scheduling asked people from 16 European countries how they got used to such a “lifestyle”.

  • 38% of people feel upset, angry, and anxious. At the same time, 60% of people feel normal and even optimistic while being on the quarantine.
  • 49% of our respondents are working remotely at this period of time, while 16% of people were cut at work!

Self-Isolation Amenities

As far as we all stay at home, we are thinking of doing something new or turning to a new hobby. 73% of our respondents have already thought about it 🙂 and 55% have even begun doing something new. I’ve started painting, and my colleagues have started doing yoga, reading books, and some of them even have finished reading several books. What perseverance!

Our research participants also try to diversify their leisure to overcome stress: mostly listening to music, watching YouTube and playing video games — 13%, walking and doing yoga with workouts is a good habit for 12% of our respondents. Reading and studying is also a popular choice (11%).

15% stated they had no stress and their life was going as usual! While 5% of respondents “enjoy” this difficult period and just keep getting stressed. 🙀

Mental Health

In search of an answer to the question “How to survive quarantine?”, we turned to a professional psychologist for advice and find out the nature of stress and discomfort resulted in the course of the matter.

The main thing that may cause stress during these days is the fear of uncertainty. We do not control the situation, we are deprived of freedom of movement and travel (in many countries). This is where anxiety can appear.

To deal with such stress, you should first regain control of your thoughts and body. Critical thinking should definitely be your friend to deal with the entire information flow — there is too much fake news. Sometimes I note that in such situations people suddenly stop checking the information for accuracy and begin to believe in fake. We get caught in an informational vacuum of a huge sham flow.

Since people are sociable creatures (breaking news 😎), we usually have a variety of opinions, based on which we are able to draw our own conclusions. Reading official resources, double-checking, and having your own opinion is a key to stay calm and keep abreast of events.

Mental Health Research

How to Keep the Balanced and Be Full of Energy

You’ve probably noticed that any abrupt changes in daily routine usually affect us in two ways — they are unsettling, and we cannot gather our thoughts, or vice versa — they mobilize and help to look at the situation from a new perspective.

Rituals are the anchors for us that allow us to stay in an invisible cocoon — not to waste energy for new experiences, being nervous about the unknown when you already feel lack of energy. It may seem silly that a simple thing can be so important to a human. But think about it for a while. Do you have a special place in the city, a specific route, process, and tradition that belongs only to you? Here you go, it’s your ritual. Something that just helps to focus and breathe calmly.

Knowing your rituals is a good step to be more aware of your own emotional state. If you are aware, you can manage the reason that makes you unbalanced and stop just rolling around with the emotions.”

We can unconsciously return to the usual and simple things that do not require us to be fully involved in order to avoid real problems. Such behavior appears when we burn out at work and at home. The burnout appears when we do not pay enough attention to our body and mind.

At this point, the key is to not fall into mental anabiosis and start making small steps that will energize you, still fulfilling well-known tasks and adding new but simple tasks little by little. Divide big tasks into smaller ones, check out the progress constantly, and do not forget to praise yourself for each completed piece of work. Make a calendar and keep to a schedule, but do not overload yourself. After a while, you will get back to a normal state.

How to Motivate Yourself

The other side is when we thought that quarantine was the right time to do everything we had ever planned and postponed. So, what about learning 3 foreign languages, reading 5 books per week, and making 50 squats a day? If someone has managed to do that, please let us know. 😅🙏

If you failed with the attempts like I did, just follow a step-by-step instruction above — make sure you have plenty of energy and start with completing a few small tasks, for the beginning. 🙂

Where to find motivation? Imagine yourself in a month, get upset, make a calendar, and get started. Say no to mental and physical anabiosis!

“Home Alone”. Quarantine Version

  • 64% of our respondents admitted that the situation with COVID-19 and quarantine had changed their lifestyle drastically.

Basically, we still can create the same rituals but online — order food from the restaurants, watch movies together with friends, make video calls with our families and friends, visit the VR museum, or cinema.

Why doesn’t it feel that right though?

  • 26% of respondents stated they felt a lack of communication and its diversity while staying at home for such a long period of time.

Many of us have felt stressed by the need to organize our spare time productively (11%) and experienced the lack of physical proximity (11%).

The lack of activity and doing the same things every day (11%), as well as the need for new impressions (6%), may have caught us in a feeling of loneliness.

  • 72% of respondents experience various inconveniences during the observance of quarantine regulations.
  • 18% of respondents stated they did not feel any difficulties while staying at home. 

The latter are men and women in their mid 40th who live with someone. They feel OKay and even optimistic, they do not feel quarantine had changed their lives drastically, focus on good news, and find bright sides in staying at home.

For the others, this period of time is less positive, unfortunately.

How Do You Perceive Loneliness?

Think of what actually loneliness is for you. We try to stay busy with our minds as much as possible. When was the last time that you listened to your inner voice, thought about your past experience, goals, and plans? Are you trying to escape from any thoughts or face it and deal with it?

When you find out what loneliness is actually to you, find companions in loneliness. 🙂

Whether you live alone at this time or with someone, involvement is your true friend. We’ve got used to a specific routine when our friends, colleagues, and family members are around us. Now, when it’s becoming more and more difficult for us to regulate who and how long we can spend time with us, it’s important to find new ways to interact with our loved ones. You can take relationships to a new level.

Learn not only to look around but also to see the beauty. When you go shopping, choose a different route, notice new objects, switch into the moment.

Gamification Time 

The gaming industry has decided to promote the recommendations of the World Health Organization during the control of COVID-19. The slogan of the campaign was #PlayApartTogether (play together). Thus, the industry wants to ensure the safety of the population during coronavirus pandemic. 

According to some studies, gamers are more susceptible to stressful situations and can quickly make difficult decisions. This is due to the need to act quickly on virtual battlefields. 

In addition to virtual games, there are a lot of such activities which we remembered only in quarantine. After all, it was the only way to distract from devices or spend quality time.

Playing games is quite satisfying for everyone. 🙂 Now, when it might be challenging to cope with the annoyance that everyone is at home, and you have less private space, it could be a good way of communicating with your family members.

Set the rules and define the time period when everyone is engaged and enjoys spending time together. It’s not only about you, but it’s also hard for everyone to come across family members 24/7 and have nowhere to go, like a tiger in the cage. A schedule of who and when is spending time in strategically important locations like the kitchen and living room will help maintain democratic mood in the family. Convoke a “family council” and discuss how everyone is feeling. The ability to express your feelings, hear, and accept the feelings of others without judgment is a super skill. Do not miss the moment to learn this. Create a safe place to share your concerns and joy, understand how you could help each other survive isolation while being altogether in a small space.

Establish the borders that will let you feel calm. It’s a normal need for everyone to stay alone for a while to gain energy and strength to sincerely communicate with someone afterward.

‘Gamify’ the time you spend with your kids — fool around, let yourself be childish for a while. This is the best therapy for burnout. 🤪 On the other hand, teach your children to respect private space.

Trust + respect + involvement

“The cats have filed a petition so that during quarantine they should not be hugged more than 100 times a day.”

If It’s the Darkest Time of Your Life

Switch to activity. Try doing something that you’ve always been interested in. Take it as a medication — it’s a needed treatment for you.

There are several strategies dealing with stress and anxiety:

  • active – eliminate the stressing factor (weight loss, job change, hair cut, breaking toxic relations with people, etc). If it is impossible, change your attitude to this (find positive sides, imagine even the worse situation, evaluate the ways how to deal with it).
  • reactive – quickly remedy the stress effects (not the stressor!). Find an activity that fully holds your attention. When you create something, you become healthier.
  • preventive – something that enhances stress resistance (sleeping, sports, mental health). All these promote creative activity and bring an excellent result when you enjoy the process.

Belief (your values) – what do you have that suits your values? Why do we stop seeing it? The answer is the same — a burnout. When you are exhausted, you switch on defensive or untypical reactions. If you value cooperation and relations with people, think whether you still act in accordance with this.

The ability to switch is a great skill to become resistant to any negative influence.

How to Come Back to Life After Lockdown?

Many countries have begun to gradually weaken quarantine measures, but it turned out that most of its residents were not in a hurry to quit quarantine — they relaxed, wanted to protect themselves, or just got used to what they resisted for so long.

According to Trudie Chalder, professor of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy at King’s College in London, this may be due to the fact that people, when stayed at home, have lost confidence in themselves and their abilities. During quarantine, some situations that might be uncomfortable for them (e.g., trips in overcrowded transport or big office meetings) have ceased to exist, and as a result, people have forgotten how to cope with such circumstances.

The top fears of people at the moment are:

  • Fear of getting infected by the virus in transport, office, or cafeteria.
  • Fear of returning to the real world in crowded places.
  • Worries about expenses that were not needed in quarantine.

You can overcome the fears, but you should not force a person to do this. If you returned the employees back to the office as soon as quarantine measures were reduced, think about how to make it easier for them to adapt. Even if your HR specialist misses cheerful conversations, ask him not to grill the colleagues. Immerse yourself in the adaptation process, as you’ve been at home long enough, too. Take the example of the world’s strongest representatives.

The tech giants Google and Facebook allowed their employees to continue working from home until the end of the year, and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey told his subordinates that they could remain “remote workers” at least forever if the wished.

I do hope this quarantine time will alter our minds in a good way. Most of the people I’ve talked to, including respondents from the research — we all just hope to get back to a normal life where we can hug our family members, friends, and the loved ones, visit our favorite places without any restrictions, have a cup of nice coffee, eat delicious meals at the restaurant, and just enjoy our freedom and company of other people. 

A human needs a human, indeed. Please, smile more often, and stay safe!

P.S. Keep an eye on our map of how regions exit quarantine.

 

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