- Two months of self-isolation for a huge country were not in vain. What processes in the consciousness of the population dominate during this period and what psychological problems do people face during their isolation? 

- What happens to a person in a stressful situation, when habitual forms of behavior are lost, the soil leaves under the feet? Each of us, of course, reacts differently. Usually in life it happens: where it is thin, there it begins to break. If there were any problems in relations with spouses or children, then, most likely, they will be exacerbated. Everywhere, not only in Russia, the problem of domestic violence is exacerbating. Of course, relations become more complicated where it was potentially possible, that is, in those families where there are conflicts, misunderstandings.

Dependency problems can be exacerbated. From the same internet or alcohol. Each person has his own strategy for coping with difficulty. For some, it is connected with going into some addictions, but for someone, on the contrary, with going into self-development, into self-realization.

In time, a void forms, which must be filled with something. And if a person is afraid of falling into the negative filling of the void, then you need to learn how to create yourself some positive moments.

Someone is learning a foreign language or participating in culinary battles. However, here we are faced with yet another danger. According to the posts of friends on social networks, you can decide that everyone around in self-isolation is doing something good, useful, smart, developing, and only here we are kind of degrading.

- This is a common problem of social networks, which was before the pandemic.

- Yes, and we always forget that in social networks people are engaged in self-presentation. Of course, there are people who like to show how they feel bad, how ugly they look, but this is an exception. If earlier they boasted that they have an expensive car or a certificate of completion of the next training program, now people boast that in self-isolation they find new meanings for themselves, new development.

We see: yeah, this one practices yoga, this one teaches the language, this one records sports videos. We begin after them to clutch at everything in a row and do what we really do not need. Then we give up this lesson, and this makes us even sadder. In this case, we can advise you to highlight one or two areas of development that are really important for us and be faithful to them.

  • The psychologist advises to highlight one or two really important areas of development
  • RIA News
  • © Alexander Halperin

- Now  many can not escape from the powerful information flow, accumulate negative emotions. What can you advise them?

- In this case, you can recommend certain self-restrictions. For example, go to social networks only twice a day: 15 minutes in the morning, 15 in the evening. To form such a habit, hang a calendar on your wall, and note in it how we are doing. All this makes sense to do if for us it really becomes a problem.

- There were encouraging statistics, the first restrictions began to be removed. This inspires hope in many, but at the same time, some people have anxiety. Once the usual rhythm was broken, people just got used to live in a new way, to communicate remotely. However, soon again it will be necessary to enter into the once familiar way of life. What pitfalls await us here?

- Here, too, it all depends on the individual. If you belong to those people who are very afraid of any contact, rub their hands with an antiseptic ten times and live with a constant feeling that the infection is about to come into their house, that is, there is a risk that it will be difficult to get out of this rhythm of life. This is one extreme, but there is another.

There are people who try to avoid security measures whenever possible. If they put on a mask, then just so that they are not fined, they do not believe in the seriousness of the situation. They will not have problems with the way out of self-isolation, but they can create troubles for themselves and for others, become infected themselves and infect others.

- And what about those who simply do not want to leave the house now?

- The people described by us represent two statistically small groups: very anxious, whose psychological well-being is at risk, and minimally disturbing, dangerous in terms of infection. Both are in the minority. Most people are still in the middle. They simply partially change their habits and adapt. Someone will more often use food deliveries, someone will wash their hands more often, get rid of the habit of constantly touching their face. This is a conditionally healthy zone.

If someone is afraid to leave the house, then the recommendations may be as follows: to force immediately overcome your fear and run into crowded places is not worth it, do not fight with radical methods. It is necessary to think over a phased transition. First, let's say we don’t go to crowded places, we don’t go at rush hour. Then gradually add other elements from our past life.

If it is very difficult to leave the house, then it makes sense to contact a psychologist. You can use the 24-hour help line “Helping to be at home” faculty of psychology at Moscow State University and the School of Anthropology of the Future RANEPA.

- It is significant that in this difficult time there are people who find the strength in themselves to help others.

- Under stress, so many people began to help others. We see the rise of the volunteer movement even among adults who have a permanent job. Many fellow psychologists, including senior students, are ready to help remotely for free.

  • During a pandemic, a rise in the volunteer movement
  • RIA News
  • © Vladimir Fedorenko

- The period of self-isolation has not yet ended. What advice can you give to maintain a safe psychological background?

- One of the very important recommendations for people in self-isolation is the observance of a rational, responsible, meaningful approach to regulation, planning their day. We must get up at the same time, not abandon good habits, maintain our appearance.

“What useful experience can we learn from this pandemic?”

- Any crisis is not only stress, but also an opportunity for development, to free yourself from something unnecessary, to build something new. Why do not we use this time to the maximum benefit for ourselves? To devote it to relatives, to develop, to start a long-delayed project. In the end, you can make repairs or just clean your house.

- Parents often complain that their children spend more time in the virtual world than in the real world. With the pandemic and distance learning, the problem worsened, there was a separation from the team, from the usual communication with peers. What is happening to children now, how can they be helped?

- This is a good and at the same time very difficult question, because before the pandemic there were no unequivocal recipes. Some parents were engaged in artificially limiting the interaction of the child with gadgets. Children look at us and see that we ourselves are in phones and tablets. When a child is small, the correct strategy would be to limit his communication with gadgets. 

  • Pandemic and distance learning aggravated the problem of children and gadgets
  • RIA News
  • © Vitaliy Timkiv

- What to do with older children, with adolescents?

- I have one assumption. We teach students, and junior students are yesterday’s schoolchildren. They are certainly very much immersed in gadgets. But at the same time, they had full communication offline. Now that they have lost it, many began to suffer insanely because of this. Therefore, I am optimistic about this situation.

Imagine that a child makes scandals for his mother that he wants to eat only sweets. His mother in every possible way fenders off sweets, arranges some sort of showdown on this subject. Tears, scandals. And here a situation arises when you are given only sweets. They cease to like, problems begin, allergies. You yourself already come to the fact that you need to eat not only sweets. I have a hypothesis that when quarantine is canceled, teenagers with great pleasure will go out on the street themselves, because they already felt the value of live communication on themselves.

- Do you have any common desire for everyone?

“I want to wish all of us psychological well-being.” The time is not easy, but extremely interesting. Let's pass it with dignity.