It was March 15, 2020, when the time was halted, when the world held its breath and when the state of emergency and the total lockdown was decreed.
COVID-19! It sounded like a bad apocalypse movie that we used to watch as kids.
In principle, I am a rather optimistic person and I tend to react to alarming situations in an unperturbed-pragmatic, sometimes even ironic-sarcastic fashion. This was also the case on 14 March 2020 when the news of the lockdown was spread on the local news.
I live in a big city where noise, stress, and chaos are the order of the day. Should this stop? Should peace and cosiness occur instead? Hey, the thought sounded great! Let’s bring some peace and calmness to our hectic everyday life for the next few weeks. Working from home? Why not? I like being at home.
It’s a good thing that I didn’t know at the time that the state of alarm would not be eased until 21 June, 2020. And that it would again be resumed on 25 October, 2020 for a total of another 196 days.
At the beginning of the lockdown, everyone declared their solidarity with the completely overburdened hospital staff, gathering in the evenings on balconies, at the window or the front door, hitting on pots, being animated, and honoring all those who went above and beyond what was thought humanly possible in order to save human lives.
Over time, pot-beating turned into music concerts, where people also inspired their neighbors to their feet. Pianos were dragged onto the balcony; operas were sung or the saxophone was played.
Police patrols would dance for children in front of hospitals or congratulate older people via loudspeakers for their birthdays. Almost idyllic- revolutionary!
But then the first hospital workers were attacked, insulted or threatened in front of their own four walls because they were carriers of the disease, they were a source of the virus, a source of infection. They brought the invisible enemy home with them.
From the idyllic solidarity, the first hate slogans developed. Where is the closest scapegoat to be found when the real enemy is intangible or insurmountable?
After a few weeks, you could only hear isolated pot-beating, until it fell miserably silent at some point.
There were the young people who were blamed for the increase in the rate of infection because they presumably violated social obligation.
The juxtaposition of perpetrators and victims is used in many areas to organize and understand the world. Guilt is based on our human values.
The Unusual Everyday Life Occurred
We started working from home, decorated our private lives into the workplace. Those who were not yet digitally positioned now had to follow suit quickly. Suddenly, we had countless virtual meetings a day, which we had to arrange next to the partner, the children, the dog, or other family members. We worked out a strategic battle plan to avoid climbing the walls at home.
Many dining tables were converted into a work table, and we tried to get hold of all kinds of equipment to make the new working version as pleasant as possible.
All of a sudden, we did things that we had never taken the time to do before! Many began to bake sourdough bread, to participate in virtual gymnastics bootcamps, Yoga classes, foreign language courses, Secrets to body transformation, How to stay fit in 10 steps… the options on offer were infinite.
We shopped on the Internet and it let us deliver the goods comfortably at home, because we were at home, 24/7.
This own home became the new centre of life and experiences.
For the environment, it was a short sigh of relief. The Corona Crisis had a short-term positive impact on air quality, forest animals dared to enter the city, where they strolled comfortably around dumpsters in search of goodies.
But reality quickly made us open our eyes! Loved ones died feeling lonely in hospitals or residences, social contacts were forbidden, friends and relatives were no longer allowed to be visited, grandparents could only see their grandchildren grow up through the window.
During the lockdown, many people fell into short-time work, suffered from salary reduction, or lost their entire livelihood.
The First Consequences
But how do the measures affect peoples’ psyches? Because weare social beings, we need physical contact, not just digital.
After the total lockdown, some people did not leave their apartment for fear of infection or began to wash their hands compulsively…the insecurity caused by an invisible enemy that can strike at any time.
Basically, fear is life-sustaining, but when this “normality” gets out of balance, the person concerned becomes a slave to their fear.Constant worries, sleep disorders, socialphobia, separation anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsiveneurosis, depression or addiction are no longer foreign words for so many of us.
This is because our six basic needs (according to Tony Robbins)have faltered:
- Safety and security
- Variety and challenge
- Recognition (need for meaning and meaning)
- Love and relationship
- Striving for further development
- Helping other people
Therefore, it is all the more important that we learn to practice self-care. To focus on what we have in our own hands, instead of on what we can’t influence.
If we are released back into the “new” everyday life, it would certainly be good for us not to have overcrowded appointment calendars again, to continue to perceive sensual suggestions of all kinds. Be it to continue to walk, to paint, make music or bake, to practice self-reflection, or to integrate further education into everyday life.
But we must remember to proceed cautiously.The formation of stability in times of change is important.Each new situation leaves open several unusual possibilities that had previously been ignored.
Above all, we must not fall back into old, bad habits. There should be some kind of transitional period in which we connect our new habits with everyday life.
How do people react to the perhaps foreseeable end of the pandemic now that vaccinations have started?
In principle, one can reduce this to three behavioural patterns:
- Some react with a need to catch up: traveling, going out, meeting friends, etc.
- Others will approach the matter with caution; they continue to pay attention to their health and financial situation.
- Change: These people see the pandemic as an opportunity to change their own lives to some extent. New life priorities are set or one’s own consumer behavior is reconsidered.
Whatever everyone’s individual choice, it’s important that we learn from our experiences, that we grow from them, and that we adjust to the fact that uncertainties can arise all of a sudden, but that we recognize how to deal with them. Since we understand how our psyche reacts to the loss of basic needs, and that our Amygdala* do not take over the power, we can emerge consciously and goal-oriented from difficult situations unscathed.
Why not create a mindful Journey of Letting Go, Improving, and Finding Peace of Mind.
Nicole Wyrwa is a licensed Personal Development & Business Coach, founder of NW Global Coaching & Consulting who helps people Release Self-Doubt, build Self-Compassion, Self-Trust and Self-Love. She leads people to let go of who they think they are supposed to be and to embrace who they really are.
*The amygdalae perform a primary role in the processing of memory, decision-making and emotional responses (including fear, anxiety, and aggression) source: Wikipedia