Camp fever or opportunity? How to (over)live in isolation

Camp fever or opportunity? How to (over)live in isolation

Two weeks, three weeks, four weeks at home, with the same people – or all alone. Maybe getting a breath of fresh air, but preferably not coming into contact with others. The corona crisis will change people’s lives.

FAMILIES face many challenges, according to anne milek, a couple and family psychologist at the university of munster, germany. "The stress level is much higher, because everyday life is no longer so well-rehearsed."In addition to the permanent care of the children, there may have been existential angst and fear of job loss. Even those who are healthy worry about the old and the sick. Even if the time period is still manageable – "it’s certainly not a vacation".

It’s important to understand the fears of others, says peter zehentner. He is, among other things, the head of the crisis intervention team in munich at the arbeiter-samariter-bund. "Fear turns off reason, it is hardly controllable and cannot be explained rationally."Peaceful people suddenly became aggressive. Here you can try to focus on what is most important: "you are still healthy, that is good. And everything else is luxury for now."

Anke lingnau carduck, president of the german society for systemic therapy, counseling and family therapy, says: "coping with the consequences of the corona pandemic is putting the whole world under stress, and this is also being felt in families". How intra-family stress increases around topics such as game consoles and television. But research shows that most families develop inner resilience in the face of crisis and adversity.

She reports on approaches to solving the problem: "a first step is to see the situation as a temporary state of affairs and to broaden the perspective again."That’s how funny things should be seen on TV. Families should take up the challenge of boredom together and invent creative tasks for each member to accomplish: "now is a good time to learn new skills, age-matched in domestic interaction," she said. "Maybe after the corona crisis, the kids have recently become passionate about cooking, dad has discovered painting, and mom has found fun and ambition in a digital game?"

Recently, the neuroscientist volker busch from regensburg made a similar statement on the radio station bayern 3: "maybe it’s a chance to rediscover that you can play a social game together around the table."The forced reunification could be a chance to rediscover community "and perhaps also to discover that we don’t really need the tennis hall and the gym and the cinema," said the psychologist from the university of regensburg.

Social psychologist elisabeth kals from the catholic university of eichstatt-ingolstadt also speaks of an opportunity: "it is important to use it positively."Children are happy when parents are at home. But they had to set a good example and not spend all their time playing games. The family can consider helping neighbors, he said. "Children can now learn how to cope with challenges." The cohesion between the generations could become more intensive. Kals speaks of a "litmus test for society".

Pairs could also rise above the situation, milek is convinced: "small quarrels fall by the wayside."So it’s not cabin fever after all? Milek suspects divorce rate is going down the tubes. "In an economic crisis, in uncertainty, we stick together"."Those who do not overcome the valley, postpone the divorce until later. Julia scharnhorst, vice president of the professional association of german psychologists, sees it differently: "there is definitely a higher risk of separation in times like these." We know this from christmas. When you spend so much time together, you notice more quickly when your values don’t match up.

Professor kals says: "if you can’t get through a few weeks together, you should ask yourself what you want to get through together." It is helpful to reflect on what was different in the first weeks of being in love. And busch also says: "i believe that the reason people are divorcing now is not because of the last two weeks. Then something else was already broken."

Speculation about a baby boom in a few months, such as that caused by the snow chaos that paralyzed the munster region for days at the end of 2005, goes in a completely different direction. The french, for example, are allegedly hoarding condoms instead of noodles.

Those currently separated by border closures can at least take advantage of technical opportunities. "Digitalization is very beneficial to us in terms of not being completely cut off," says milek. Phone calls and skypes help people who are currently separated from each other to "experience a genuinely interested feedback, comfort and encouragement, to be able to share experiences at home," says lingnau carduck.

SINGLES also protected from loneliness by digital media, she says. And if one is perhaps already psychologically unstable anyway? Social pedagogue zehentner even expects a decreasing number of suicides. "The corona crisis distracts people." Those affected were often taken out of their thoughts towards suicide. "It may even be that suicidal and depressed people can currently feel better," says zehentner. "We also experienced this during the fubball world championship in germany."Nevertheless, the situation could lead to massive problems for people with fears, for example.

Similar advice from kals in general: "don’t stew in our own juices, but recognize what rough issues we have, that’s a development opportunity."And busch says: "it depends on how we organize it – even if we have to stay out of the house for a few weeks, life can go on in this way."


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