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Psychological adaptation to the crisis obeys its own laws. We must successively climb the four steps without getting stuck on any of the intermediate. How to avoid this?

by Derek Teague (2020-05-10)

The first step is shock. This is the first psychological reaction that each of us has encountered. It takes time to believe in such a quick collapse of the familiar world. And at this moment we have two main emotions (their balance depends on the nature of the person): fear and aggression. People are afraid of different things. Alone - get sick and die. Others fear for the lives of older relatives. A huge proportion of people fear poverty and devastation in the country, which will be a consequence of the economic crisis. People are afraid to stay out of work, go broke, not pay debts. Someone fears the onset of a period of total control by the state. The objects of aggression are just as diverse: it can be neighbors who do not comply with quarantine, the Chinese, with whom it all began, the state that does not help in the wrong way, the child who does not allow to concentrate on work, and so on.


A shock is inevitable, since we all, deep down, believed in the stability of the world. I can’t help but recall the conversation I had several years ago with my older children. I found that they firmly believe that external factors in their life will always be prosperous. I began to actively dissuade them, to say that it is impossible to live life without going through serious external crises. And he saw that they did not believe me. A month ago, I watched them try to realize that everything was happening seriously.

Depending on the health of the psyche, shock can last days, weeks, months. A huge percentage of people are still in this state. Nevertheless, the psyche is capable of acceptance, after which fear and rage subside. And we find ourselves at a new stage.


The second step is despondency. It only seems that despondency is easier than fear; discouragement is the most difficult state of confusion and vacillation. You sleep hard, get up late, go around stupidly around the apartment, read the same news, try to sit down to work, you can’t, scold yourself for it, again wander around, more and more depressed.


To overcome discouragement, considerable will is required. The key to success is schedule and discipline. I got up at 7:00 on the alarm clock. Did a charge. Washed up. He put himself in order, beautifully dressed. Job. Charging again. Again work. And with a sense of accomplishment, an evening rest - moreover, preferably not news, but communication with relatives, a good book or film. If a person was able to forcefully transfer himself to such a regime, after a while the work begins to bring satisfaction and despondency recedes. And then a man climbs to the next step.

The third step is nostalgia. Our experts understand that the crisis is a long time, and we are beginning to long for a lost world. Someone recalls the noise of Coffeemania and unhurried talk about new projects. Someone missed the hectic airports. And someone wants to be in the square of Venice or Rome, where smartly dressed people drink wine and eat pizza in open street restaurants. Everyone has their own memories and regrets.


Do not rush to get rid of nostalgia. This is a kind of training before old age, when we will all be nostalgic for our active lives and the beautiful world of youth. But there is no point in lingering for a long time at this stage, because then we will lose the chance of a unique experiment that the crisis has provided us.


My children were not shocked and discouraged for long. They gathered a company and drove to the country. And in the country they created a commune. They eat all together by candlelight, listen to classical music, read and discuss complex books, and dance in the evenings. This does not stop them from learning remotely. It turned out that the commune is something they always dreamed about, but just had no reason to try.


It’s not about trying to get down to business that you always put off. I am talking about much more - the implementation of an alternative life scenario. Maybe you were thinking about the career of a philosopher? Then now is the time to try on this role for yourself: to encumber yourself with ancient books and start writing your own. Or maybe you thought to buy a house in the village - rent a house in the village and leave: you still have time to dig up and plant a garden to eat vegetables from your garden in summer.


Modern technologies will allow to continue office remote work in the countryside, but the main thing during this period will be an experiment with a new life format. Or maybe you fantasized that you would become an artist? It's time to get an easel. Would you like to travel? Is it impossible to travel without leaving home? After conducting an experiment on the implementation of an alternative life scenario, we finally climb to the fourth step, where a prize awaits us.


The fourth step is gaining an alternative life role. There is a small chance that you will get involved in experimenting with alternative scenarios and radically change your life after the pandemic: get married (or get divorced), leave for the village, go on a trip around the world, organize your school and teach children, become a writer or artist, etc. etc. Although the most probable is that you will return to your previous lifestyle. But in any case, if you managed to get to the fourth step, the pandemic will remain in your memory only as a vivid memory when you tried an alternative role and thereby enriched your life.


Now answer your question: at what level are you right now?