The corona pandemic is slowly threatening not only our physical but also our mental health. Fatigue, stress, grief, fear – all of these problems are currently exacerbated. A psychologist explains what we can do about it.
I am tired. Really tired. For me and others, this is nothing unusual for the time of year. In January, many people feel the touch of winter depression, it is gray and dark, we lack sun and vitamin D and after the holidays this new, empty year lies ahead of us.
But it's worse this year. If I ask around in my environment, the mood is clouded, even among the optimists among us. And if you accept these unpleasant feelings – of any kind – for a moment and question them, their existence suddenly appears crystal clear. Of course everything is worse this year, but that alone is not bad, it's damn normal! After all, we are facing an anniversary that we don't like to celebrate: Corona has been with us for a good 12 months now.
And not only part of our lives has changed during this time: our social security is wavering, we cannot be close to family and friends. Our financial security is crumbling, we are facing an economic crisis. We can no longer see our home. Sports and hobbies have changed too. And the Corona crisis not only threatens our own health, but also shows us the instability of our family members. Unfortunately, all of these components are the pillars of security that everyone urgently needs.
Do you feel like you are losing the ground under your feet? According to therapist Andrea vorm Walde, this is hardly surprising: "If one column starts to wobble, the others absorb it; with two it becomes very difficult. But if the ground shakes, we get out of joint and that is what has just happened to us as a result of the pandemic and its consequences, "she explains to us.
With such a constant earthquake, it's all the more important to think about your mental health – and to give it a good amount of extra attention. We already know that it is normal for everyday problems to feel worse than we are used to. That already takes a great burden off us. Now, however, it is important to react to that too. Andrea vorm Walde told us how we should best deal with current problems – and we prefer to hang this guide right next to the bathroom mirror so that we can see it every day!
10 everyday problems that Corona makes worse
What do I do if in Corona times …
… Get tired and listless?
"Movement always helps against tiredness and listlessness. The first countermeasure is therefore to escape the bed or the couch, out into the fresh air, exercise or take a walk in nature, play with children, romp with animals. The defeated bastard makes you satisfied while sleep and rest add to the problem in this case. "
… get panic attacks?
"If you have a persistent panic attack, you absolutely have to see a doctor because it is a serious illness. But there are usually preliminary stages that you may still be able to confront. So when you start to lose your head, your heart is racing, you sweat, you tremble , Chest or throat become tight, then you have to take it seriously. It helps to breathe in and out very deeply, to free yourself immediately from being alone (i.e. to go to the neighbor or to call someone) and then to make every effort to get into that Finding reality. Panic attacks simulate false fears; if one can divert one's mind away from them, the body calms down again. In the long term, panic attacks must be treated. "
… Develop fears and inner unrest?
"Everyone finds their inner peace differently. A jogging session helps some people, others more meditation or yoga. The goal is to divert your thoughts away from what is troubling you. This also includes the firm will to do so.
Fears are a significant increase in this. It is important to distinguish whether the fear is really real or whether it is more like a disorder. For example, if a close person has Corona and is feeling bad, the fear is understandable. It is important not to get involved, but to allow a positive conclusion again and again or to exchange ideas with someone about the fear and so calm down.
The situation is different when the fear gets out of control and is no longer comprehensible to a clearly thinking person. Before this so-called anxiety disorder solidifies, it is essential to consult a doctor. "
… am still stressed at work / privately?
"It's mean. Everywhere you hear about people reading one book after the other, slowing down and relaxing, and you yourself have more stress than ever before. Stop!
Constant stress makes you sick. And especially now, when one is additionally plagued by the Corona crisis, the difficult conditions, all worries and a general atmosphere of fear, this danger is doubly effective.
The best thing is to pull the rip cord once and pause: What can wait? What can be different? What can I be helped with? You often stress yourself, for example through perfection. There is currently less space for that than usual! "
… get physical stress symptoms (back pain, headache, stomach ache, etc.)?
"Even if physical pain has a psychological cause, it is still there and should therefore be taken seriously, at least observed. And in worse, especially protracted cases, treated.
Nevertheless, the following applies: They will only disappear if the cause is eliminated. So the stress has to go.
It is also good to find some relief, for example through physiotherapy for back problems, relaxation exercises for headaches, tea and hot water bottles for stomach aches. Overall, good nutrition, exercise, light, fresh air and adequate sleep help. Stress is not an excuse that none of this can happen. "
… have lovesickness?
"Unfortunately, lovesickness is still often underestimated and taken too lightly by third parties. In many cases, lovesickness is no different from grief and is sufficient reason for the person concerned to experience great suffering.
It is important that you admit this lovesickness to yourself, including all the phases that belong to it: first not wanting to admit the situation, then reacting with various symptoms, and finally despair.
In fact, if lovesickness lasts too long and does not improve, it must be taken so seriously that therapeutic help is necessary.
Since the current situation is generally characterized by contactlessness and loneliness, lovesickness strikes even worse. It is all the more important not to be alone if possible, but to have the one person you are allowed to meet around as often as possible. Telephone contacts or online conversations are also good. Alone in such situations often leads to brooding and brooding takes us out of reality – a state that is never helpful. "
… become a hypochondriac (e.g. regarding corona symptoms)?
"Every slight scratching of the throat is a symptom, every contact with other people will definitely lead to the disease? The fears go far too far.
You have to stay in reality, this is especially important in a crisis. These exaggerated thoughts should be pushed away; if that doesn't work, a therapist has to help. Hypochondria is actually a disease. "
… lose all professional motivation?
"Anyone who works in an industry that is particularly affected by the lockdown or its consequences has a really hard time staying motivated.
But why are there people who don't lose heart and keep reinventing themselves? This is probably because they know their so-called intrinsic motivation and have internalized it.
Because that means that you know yourself what you are doing all this for – what you are passionate about and what drives you deep down. Finding that out is very exciting and the key to getting up and moving on again and again – and often the sure way to success. "
… keep having arguments in the family?
"Communication and understanding are two magic words that now help. When family members manage to empathize with each other, the tolerance to endure something that actually bothers you grows.
This includes, for example, that it must be clear that remote work combined with homeschooling will drive the most organized mother crazy. Or that children who cannot play with their friends are not let off steam and whimper. That teenagers who actually want to break away from their parents can't cope with being at home all the time.
Thinking outside the box helps, and talking about it is absolutely necessary. Sometimes, however, it is even more important to just withdraw and be alone for a moment. "
… get into financial difficulties?
"At the moment, people are in financial need who have never known anything like this and are completely helpless in the face of it.
Even if it is very difficult, there is no place for shame here. The situation is through no fault of our own and is shared with a great many others. Asking for help is not a shame, and certainly not to seek all government support you are entitled to.
There are now various organizations or Facebook groups that take on these topics and where you can get a lot of advice and direct support. Especially with official matters and applications, you should definitely seek help from others who have experience with it. At some point the day will come again when you are there for others. "
Dear Frau vorm Walde, thank you very much for your advice!