Ten days have passed since the government declared an emergency situation in connection with the coronavirus pandemic and there are first signs of people struggling with being confined to their homes. According to clinical psychologist Anna-Kaisa Oidermaa, it is possible that the situation will become more difficult for many in the coming weeks.
The quarantine has been a reality for Gerli Lenz, living in the heart of the Italian coronavirus epidemic, since February 21, when first lockdowns began. Codogno, where Lenzi works, was also in the quarantined red zone.
Even though her home was outside of the quarantined area, she too had to self-isolate for a fortnight. Since then, she has been confined to her home or has moved only from home to work and vice versa for a total of five weeks.
"The first days during which everything was taken from us were the worst for me, because you will get used to the inevitability in the end," Lenz told ETV news broadcast "AK. Nädal".
"Even though staying at home might seem hard at first, the reality must be accepted," she added. "You just have to do the chores you could not find the time for previously - spring-cleaning, maintenance, everything you usually don't have time to do. Now we do have enough time and these things must be done, because sooner or later we will return to normality and then there will be no more time again. We must enjoy the time we have now and maximize it."
Lenzi added that no one knows when normality will be restored. "At the beginning, we were said that the situation will take two weeks to clear. Then another two weeks, then another. Nobody really believes this anymore, because it is clear that this is not so easy and it will not happen overnight.
According to psychologist Anna-Kaisa Oidermaa, it is natural for people to be interested in when the situation will end and when they can move on with their lives.
"This is where we have to accept that we don't know but keep doing the things we can do," Oidermaa said.
The situation is difficult for both families where members work and study but also for those who spend their days alone within the four walls. "It can also be a little overwhelming for men who are used to overcoming tension by working out, moving, being more active," Oidermaa added.
That relationships become strained is natural according to the psychologist, as significant mental resource is needed for adapting to the new situation. It is easier for families who have a set daily schedule, as maintaining routine helps during difficult times.
Oidermaa said that the situation will become more difficult for many in the coming weeks, as first trepidation and anxiety have passed. The next stage of the crisis is displeasure and only after the difficult moment has been understood, new circumstances can be adapted to.
"This depends on people's background and how have they dealt with previous crises," Ojamaa said, adding that anyone in need should call the crisis hotline 1247 of the Emergency Response Centre, which now offers psychological first aid.
Editor: Anders Nõmm