Coronavirus and psychology, how to help children and lonely people manage stress at Christmas

Coronavirus and psychology, how to help children and lonely people manage stress at Christmas

According to widespread fears, some categories, including children, the elderly and lonely people, could be more at risk of psychological consequences due to the pandemic. But often these are fears that are not entirely founded. Two studies show how to cultivate resilience

(photo: Pixabay) The pandemic is testing everyone, just think that according to the World Health Organization, 60% of people suffer from fatigue associated with the pandemic and the anomalous situation ( the pandemic fatigue). In general, the new reality can be perceived as traumatic, especially by those who experience the emergency or illness firsthand, and cause anxiety, stress, nightmares, insomnia and depressive symptoms. Especially in this period, with the Christmas holidays approaching, we must not forget the categories that could experience Christmas with greater difficulty, such as children, for which it has always been a party and a holiday to be together, the elderly and the people. alone or in solitary confinement due to the coronavirus. Cultivating resilience with actions and even practical advice is essential and to this end two different studies help to better manage this unusual holiday.

Christmas, helping children stay carefree

With the right support, children are resilient, explain experts from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio, who conducted a study on the subject. The survey, presented on the hospital page, indicates that two thirds of parents are very worried about any long-term psychological consequences. As they grow, they change continuously and for this very reason the change could also be experienced as a novelty, a game. It all depends on how to deal with the topic and how to live the moment, both for children and for adults (here are some tips from the Higher Institute of Health). The ideal for parents is to talk about it openly and as soon as possible, in a clear way, in order to prepare the child for the fact that at Christmas there will be no guests or there will be very few, the meetings will be reduced or maybe we will see each other in small groups and outdoors.

Cultivating resilience

In addition to envisioning change, alternative solutions must be proposed, which are creative and can ensure that even the new is experienced with fun. There are many games that can be played with family and friends, even at a distance: from making an appointment online on video platforms to decorate the tree with classmates, all together even if at a distance, to the preparation of culinary recipes never experienced before. Up to outdoor encounters with one friend at a time, perhaps drawing lots for the lucky one to add that extra bit of imagination. The search for imaginative alternatives must not only guide the daily lives of the little ones but also applies to adults.

Even the elderly can be very strong

A category often considered more fragile, not only from a physical point of view, and most at risk of psychological consequences is that of older people. But even in this case, as with children, we must change our minds, according to a study by the Institute for Technology in Psychiatry at McLean Hospital, Massachusetts. The research is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Jama). The group of scientists was struck by the presence of numerous studies and surveys on small samples in size that showed how the elderly reacted better than all other age groups. This obviously does not apply to everyone and does not refer to particular situations such as major pre-existing diseases, furthermore we do not know what the longer-term effects may be. However, the researchers decided to focus on the protective elements highlighted by these data, capable of enhancing resilience capabilities.

From video chats to telemedicine

In this case it is essential being connected to others, by telephone and possibly via the web, through video-chat: technology can be of great help. Then, develop compassion for oneself and for others, cultivate gratitude by regularly pausing each day to think about what good you have. Physical activity, even reduced and carried out at home, can also be a good help against moodiness. A fundamental element, for both psychological and physical health, is the increasingly widespread diffusion of telemedicine tools, which can help patients in isolation or at home to feel that there is someone who takes care of them constantly. . In fact, if you have a disease it is important to know that you are being followed and monitored continuously, and this can also lower anxiety and stress. And it doesn't just apply to the elderly.

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