In these difficult times of forced isolation, time must be deceived. But above all to fight: fear. The fear of being infected or, more often, of the health and safety of loved ones. And we try to exorcise each one in its own way: through long chats in chat, with aperitifs in a video call, through musical flashmobs on the balconies, hanging flags or with large signs bearing the words “Everything will be fine”.
The most suitable term, it seems to me, is “living together”: because I believe that at the moment it is very important to start from being able to “live together” (also) with fear. We have seen in recent days scenes of great collective irrationality, with assault on supermarkets, alternating with paradoxical gatherings in parties, dinners, aperitifs, as if to want to exorcise this difficult moment together with the others. These are probably more than understandable human behaviors. We know that fear reactions manifest themselves in different ways and with different intensity, above all according to the perception of the danger.
Therefore, the more I have the feeling of being close to a very threatening event, the more I will experience intense emotions and I will tend to practice “instinctive” actions. I believe this may reflect the choice of one behavior over another. We must recognize that we are in a moment of great uncertainty. Not being in control of the situation can, therefore, lead us to answers that are the fastest and most available at the moment. Often, however, we have to think that these are not the most beneficial behaviors.
It is a time when, perhaps, the need for the other is also discovered, taken for granted when we can safely move, and that instead – we are realizing it – is not at all. So isolation!
Being used to moving freely with our means and to busy our days, staying at home can become even more a heavy limit. Therefore, despite the considerable individual differences, staying in this “home isolation” I think can be very difficult, as nervousness, depression, boredom, confusion, and fear can lead us to change our lifestyle: nutrition, sleep, taking care of ourselves.
The elderly are the most at risk: in addition to the legitimate concern of contracting the virus, many feel the feeling of loneliness.
In general, to better “endure” this situation and maybe, to turn it into positive, I would say that it could be useful to devote a little to ourselves, in the sense of listening to our body, our emotions, and thoughts. It would be necessary to understand and accept fear and forced enclosure, individual and collective, but also to engage (as far as possible) in what we like, perhaps using the time available precisely in what before, due to the usual routine, we could not do, like reading a book, playing with your children, calling your friends. It could be reassuring to keep informed, to better manage uncertainty and fear, but by making a careful selection of the different communication channels, and keeping in touch with our loved ones in the ways available to us, so as not to feel or make them feel alone.
It could be comfortable, for oneself and for others, to commit oneself to being responsible and to remind us that true freedom comes from respect for the rules.
To those who have to move to go to work, I believe further responsibilities are required, which if on the one hand, they can understandably frighten, on the other hand, I believe they can strengthen in terms of self-confidence. Thinking about what one is engaged in, pursuing one’s habits and experiencing the usual contexts can become very important factors in facing these moments in the best possible way. But feeling free to communicate one’s own emotions or to welcome those of others, and keep in mind the perception that it is precisely starting from the commitment of each one that can truly offer sincere help.
Ultimately, appealing to our spirit of sacrifice, I believe that this period is offering us something very important. It is in fact allowing us to rediscover ourselves, to give us time for ourselves, to dedicate (if possible) to what we like best. It is allowing us to stop in boredom, to slow down the hectic pace of our days, to identify the value of small everyday things, such as the gesture of holding hands or drinking coffee together. It is allowing us to discover how challenging and enjoyable it can be to try something new, such as Smart Working, which has required many more efforts, but which has proven surprising. Finally, it is allowing us to feel, globally, closer despite “isolation”.