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In this interview with Isabella Bergner, I give tips on how to manage everyday life better in Corona times. This was broadcast on Radio Kärnten on 25.4.2020. Original for listening until 7 days after the broadcast:
...and as mp3 download:
There is also an article about this on ORF.at:
Here is a copy of the article:
Social distancing will continue to occupy every society as long as there is no treatment for CoV. Many suffer from separation, others from the constant closeness of family. Then there is homeschooling and teleworking. Psychologist Diana Schaffer gives tips.Online since 30.4.2020, 7.03 a.m.Share on FacebookShare on TwitterSend by mail
According to Schaffer, many people suffer (not only in CoV times) because contact with others and also physical contact are very important to feel good. For some people, the lack of contact can lead to depression. A rather young field of research is "lifestyle medicine". The core questions are how strongly are lifestyle and health connected and to what extent do changes have an effect.
Studies show that social factors can also prevent illness or help with healing, says Schaffer: "In that area, a lot of studies show that lonely and isolated people are three to ten times more likely to get sick or even die earlier than people who are socially integrated." But now we are in a paradoxical situation: "We know deep down that we want to be close to other people. On the other hand, that very thing becomes a threat to health, something that is scary."
Fear is the next thing you have to deal with. On the one hand, the fear of infection, on the other hand, the fear that arises when you have to deal with job loss or financial problems. "On a physical level, fear leads to stress. If this stress lasts too long, it has a negative effect on the immune system."
Fear is always a bad advisor, because you tend to act rashly, you get tunnel vision. You get irritated quickly. But precisely when it comes to finances, you need conscious, considered actions to find solutions, says the psychologist.
From a distance, some worries no longer seem quite so big and heavy. A look back can help here: "Life has ups and downs, that's quite normal. When you're doing well and you're on a high, it's hard to imagine that you'll be doing badly one day, and vice versa." Looking at life as a whole and recognising the pattern can help you endure it. You know it will get better one day.
To be able to distract yourself in the situation now, Schaffer advises a good daily structure. "If you think about what you want to do the next day the night before, maybe even in writing, it makes the day seem more interesting. The freed-up time could also become a field of experimentation - space for something you always wanted to do but never had time for: "Maybe you like writing or always wanted to paint or sew. You can also do fitness exercises." You can also take stock of your life. Question your relationships, job, hobbies.
"If you have children, you can now finally have the opportunity to spend quality time with them. For example, just being there for the child for once, listening, following suggestions, playing crazy games. With children, interestingly enough, you can see that they have particularly creative ideas for games when they are very bored."MORE ON THE TOPICHotlines and links to CoV Carinthia
Schaffer has tips for working in a home office. She advises against wearing a jogging suit: "If you spend most of the day indoors, it's easy to fall into careless habits. If you also dress nicely at home, it increases your self-esteem. Every day you should do sports or exercise, it makes you feel happier on a hormonal level."
When many family members are together in a small space, everyone needs a break, preferably in the form of a retreat. Communication is also more important than ever. If something bothers you, don't swallow it, but address it right away. You often hear the slogan "hang in there". Not a term that psychologist Schaffer likes to hear: "The word persevere suggests that it's a difficult time." It is better to think about what is positive. Perhaps you will recognise something new about yourself.
For some there is too much closeness, for others too little, keyword grandparents: "It is important to maintain contact. Technology often makes that relatively easy. It can be a chance for grandma and grandpa to familiarise themselves with Whatsapp or Skype and to talk to their grandchildren normally.
If you're worried that you'll run out of things to talk about, or if children don't want to chat for long, you simply have to get creative: "When the child is older, grandma can tell you a cake recipe, the child makes it, and you can bake a cake together. A heartfelt letter with a drawing can also warm the heart just as much as a hug.
Other elderly people are more withdrawn these days, and this is where relatives have to become active : "If someone withdraws, there is a high probability that she will fall into a depressive mood. Then it becomes even more difficult to approach others. You need a lot of patience and understanding, but you have to reach out to them." Trusting that everything will turn out well can help you feel less anxious, the psychologist says.
When you are in an energy slump or have dark thoughts and you are not feeling well, it is difficult to have creative ideas. That's why it makes sense to think about what could do you good while you're still in good times. For example, writing a list and implementing it: "Good music, a bath with scented oil, going for a walk or calling someone who makes you feel good. You will be surprised that you will soon feel better when you do something nice.