In self-isolation, how to take good care of yourself psychologically

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Some thoughts from Psychology. When moving into self-isolation, please consider that you as a human being have three basic psychological needs. Each has implications for what you can do to make your life and the lives of those around you better and more bearable in these difficult times.

For you personally

1. Relatedness: Continue to reach out to friends and family digitally. Even to colleagues for digital small talk beyond work. Make this a habit.

2. Competence: Make sure that you (also) engage in tasks that you get feedback for. Maybe (re)ignite a hobby in which you can improve, and get lost in a sense of flow.

3. Autonomy: Take control of your day. Check the media only at certain times, and make a plan for the rest of the day, week and month. Take ownership of your fate, not vice-versa.

As a manager

At the same time, consider that these basic psychological needs also apply to others. So if you are a manager, consider the following:

1. Relatedness: Regularly reach out to your employees. Set up structures for them to regularly meet online, even without you. And highlight the fact that it is not just about work but also about being in touch. Show that you care as a human being.

2. Competence: Give fast and frequent feedback. Give them tasks for which meaningful progress is both possible and visible. Discuss with them what types of (additional) tasks this could involve.

3. Autonomy: More than ever before, give employees guidance but also ask for their opinions and give them choices. For instance, how to structure their day and what tasks to prioritize.

As a partner

The same applies for the kids and spouses you may now have with you permanently at home. So if you are someone’s parent or romantic partner, consider the following:

1. Relatedness: Provide a safe and comfortable environment. As part of doing so, force yourself to always say five times as many nice things as critical things to those around you. This will be a long and intensive period, so try to keep your interactions as nice as you can. Keep in mind that, while births will spike nine months from now, so will divorce rates (cf. Wuhan stats).

2. Competence: Engage in joint hobbies or challenges. For instance, set up home Olympics or smaller competitions. Explore new things. Set goals. Create together. And appreciate each other’s efforts.

3. Autonomy: Take charge of your days. Discuss and create plans together. For instance, ask your kids what they want to learn in this time period and then see how you can go about it.

Stay safe ... and sane!

Corona Crisis: Analyses & Comments
This news is part of the Corona series of analyses and comments with KLU researchers regarding different aspects of the effects of the ongoing coronacrisis on our daily lifes, the economy, our way we work and more. Find all analyses and comments.  

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