The psychological effects of confinement and how to face them

The health alarm situation and the period of confinement due to coronavirus is leading us to live moments and experiences of all kinds on a personal, family and professional level. At times, we have even been able to experience a feeling of a certain unreality, as if we were immersed in a science fiction movie. It is also quite likely that we begin to notice apathy, tiredness, boredom, a feeling of emotional exhaustion and a desire to go out . They are habitual emotions that usually get worse as the confinement lengthens; and that some of them may even last over time once this stage has been completed.

The AECC team of psychologists, whose work is being key in offering care to cancer patients and family members at this time, provide us with some very useful guidelines for all of us to take care of our emotional well-being.

Confinement can affect our emotional well-being

It should be borne in mind that the current situation has meant a break in our day-to-day, in our routines , our leisure spaces, cafes with colleagues, talks with friends, family meals, excursions and visits … Staying confined in our homes it implies that the days always seem the same, and it is normal to go to sleep with the feeling that tomorrow will be the same as yesterday.

Suddenly, our life has been paralyzed and we have had to adapt to a new situation that can generate anxiety and stress . Not only because of the experience of being confined, but also because of the consequences of such confinement. There are many people who have been affected by an ERE or an ERTE, loss of work, decrease in monthly income …; to which must be added the daily coexistence with our partner, children and children, relatives or roommates, etc.

Coronavirus Confinement: What Psychological Effects Does It Have?

The most recent studies indicate that people who have undergone a quarantine are significantly more likely to present exhaustion, frustration, anxiety when thinking about contagion and the situation, irritability, insomnia, poor concentration and indecision , deterioration in job performance and rejection. to the job or consideration of resignation. Low mood and irritability are notable for their high prevalence, and these symptoms tend to worsen as confinement lengthens.

The initial symptoms of emotional exhaustion are:

  • Physical tiredness, fatigue …
  • Insomnia. As contradictory as it may seem, we are finding more problems to sleep, well to fall asleep; Good because we woke up early and we find it hard to go back to sleep.
  • Irritability , hypersensitivity to comments, criticisms or disapproving gestures.
  • Lack of motivation. We may feel a lack of interest in activities and day to day.
  • Affective distancing.
  • Difficulty thinking. We may feel that we reason more slowly and forget more things.

We must not forget that human beings are social beings and we need contact with others, and although social networks and telematic means allow us to have them and feel them closer, we need their contact, company …

Tips to alleviate the effects of confinement

Probably, during this confinement we have explored a long list of activities to distract ourselves: training courses, cooking, physical exercise routines on our terrace, playing and drinking virtual coffees … And, although we can manifest a certain feeling of being fed up, now more than ever it is essential to maintain certain habits to avoid falling into neglect and abandonment. For this reason, it is very important that we maintain our work, leisure, rest or sports routines.

The psychologists of the AECC review those aspects that we should not overlook:

Routines and rituals give meaning to our experiences

Simple facts like getting up and going to bed at the same time, eating at a set time, going out to the window every day at eight o’clock in the afternoon …, are very important now. Don’t neglect routines.

Dealing with boredom is key

We must bear in mind that boredom is generally a state of mind that arises when lack of activity is perceived negatively. In this era of hyperproductivity, the stopping of our usual activity means that we can feel empty, a feeling of not knowing what to do or not doing anything. As a consequence, we can feel restlessness and irritability in many cases . It is important to put aside these thoughts of perfection or fulfillment that can sometimes assail us.

Creativity is also a state of mind to be cultivated

To do this, we must be able to face free time without anguish, get bored without fear … And let our mind fly free. It will help us to find time to do activities that are gratifying to us, relax, rest and be calm.

Avoid catastrophic thoughts

It is important to avoid thoughts that can generate higher levels of anxiety and limit our resources to face the day to day. Focus on the present, dealing with what is happening without being permanently connected and hyperinformed.

We know that this situation can still last a little longer and that these emotions can even last for several months after the end of this stage. Hence the importance of sensitizing ourselves to ourselves. For this, nothing better than breathing, reconnecting with who we are, with what we want and want.


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