The authorities and medical professionals are trying to slow down the spread of the coronavirus nationwide. One means that has apparently worked in China is isolation. In Germany, too, people who may have been infected with the virus are now under quarantine at home. But the protective measures are even more drastic: In some federal states and cities there are currently curfews, which means that the population should stay at home. And that is very important, because only in this way can elderly and chronically ill people effectively protect themselves. Psychologists warn, however, that such a curfew can have a negative impact on us. But it helps if we remain mentally active.
Staying Mentally Active: What is the difference between curfew and quarantine at home?
A curfew is very different from a quarantine at home. In the case of quarantine at home, people who have come into contact with Covid-19 have to stay at home. There is a risk that these people have become infected with the virus and that they could infect others. People who are quarantined at home do not necessarily get sick. But you can still potentially infect other people. You are therefore not allowed to leave the house for a certain period of time. This period is determined by the local authorities and the doctors, it is usually 14 days, but it can be more. The infected are not allowed to stay outdoors. You are also not allowed to be in contact with other people (for example, visiting friends). The infected are either supplied with food by the state, or you have to organize the supply yourself according to certain rules.
Exit restrictions, on the other hand, apply to all citizens of a federal state or to all residents of a city or, if the federal government so decides, nationwide. Depending on what the competent authorities decide, the extent of the curfew can vary. Such exit restrictions can be, for example:
- Complete exit ban for certain age groups (for example people over 65 years old)
- Walks and sports in the open air may be prohibited
- Group events are prohibited
- In such cases, contact with other people is forbidden; in public, a minimum distance of 2 meters from others should be kept.
- You are only allowed to go to the nearby supermarket and pharmacy in order to shop as quickly as possible.
- It is usually also allowed to go to work (as long as you have permission from your employer) and to go to the bank.
- You can only leave your own home in exceptional cases.
The curfew is also a protective measure to prevent coronavirus. Basically, healthy people stay at home and thus avoid the risk of contracting the dangerous disease. In this way, elderly and chronically ill people can be effectively protected.
In the event of a curfew, you should always contact the local authorities to find out which rules you have to adhere to. Because the situation changes very quickly and the authorities have to react accordingly.
Curfews can have a negative impact on mental health
Psychologists warn that such a curfew can negatively impact the mental health of young children and people with depression. But also healthy people often suffer greatly from isolation. It leads to panic and triggers anxiety. In addition, many people are under enormous stress. Quarrels can also arise in the family. Because after a curfew, all structures that normally give us support in everyday life slowly break down. Most people find isolation stressful because they suddenly no longer go to work and instead have to structure their everyday lives themselves. And those who continue to work at home despite the Covid-19 crisis have to deal with the stress every day. Because it is certainly very difficult for them to concentrate on their work. Extroverts often feel overwhelmed by loneliness. And every visit to the supermarket can trigger neuroses. But there are always ways and means to communicate with others and stay positive. For example, daily contact with friends and relatives via Skype or telephone can significantly improve the mood.
The good news: After a curfew, things are slowly going uphill again. But so that we can hold out until then, we should concentrate on the positive and remain mentally active. According to the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, reading, writing and thinking games can help. We offer you a few examples of activities that distract your attention and help to make everyday life meaningful and to make the most of the free time.
Staying Mentally Active: Exercises That Will Promote Your Mental Flexibility
The exercises that will help you stay mentally active are divided into three groups. The first group promotes your mental flexibility, the second – your attention, and the third – short-term memory. The exercises were originally developed for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, but have now become a popular pastime for many elderly people. But they also prove to be very helpful for working people, because they can successfully divert attention and increase the ability to concentrate. When to do these exercises:
1. If you work at home, you can take a short rest after the work day and then devote an hour to the exercises each evening.
2. When you are not working, you can do assignments for an hour in the morning and in the evening.
The group of exercises that promote your mental flexibility include, among others:
- Exercises with twisted letters.
- Exercises in which the individual letters have to be replaced with numbers
- Exercises in which letters are arranged on a chessboard and words are formed with them
These exercises stimulate your imagination. You also practice finding solutions to various problems. Mental endurance and patience are also trained. All of these skills can help you in your professional life.
Staying Mentally Active: These exercises will train your memory
If you want to stay mentally active during a curfew, you can also train your memory. The advantage of this type of exercise is that you can do it alone and with other family members. If you have toddlers, they are sure to be fun too. There are several types of tasks that you can do together with children in elementary school. Such are for example:
- Number bands where you have to frame consecutive numbers that add up.
- A picture course in which you connect certain symbols with a line
- Exercises in which you should quickly find several symbols that look the same and circle them.
In this way, you and the children can quickly practice processing new information and viewing it critically. They also train their attention and can improve your ability to concentrate.
Exercises that encourage alertness
As a rule, most exercises with numbers and symbols encourage attention. But you can also train to find solutions to problems quickly. You can do this, for example, with exercises in which:
- You are comparing two images and looking for similarities or differences
- You complete words in sentences
- Look for hidden words in a row of letters
These exercises are great fun for the whole family and great joy for children in elementary school. They also help the little ones to expand their vocabulary in a playful way.
Staying Mentally Active for Singles: What You Can Do against Boredom
Singles and people who live alone have it particularly difficult during the time of the spread of the corona. To avoid depression, you should stay mentally active. Surprisingly, the experts advise against any activity in social networks. Instead, reading, writing and thinking games can be used. Now is the right time to take part in an online workshop or to exchange ideas with other readers. You can also:
- Write haiku. The Japanese poem form is without rhyme.
- Paint by numbers
- Make photo collages or if-books
- Write short stories
- Organize a virtual writing meeting with like-minded people and exchange ideas about literary works.
- Learn the 10-finger writing system
- Learn new language
- Download audiobooks
Tips for hobby gardeners: Create a herb garden
Hobby gardeners can plan their own dream garden during a corona quarantine. Now is the time to make a garden plan and mark all of the plants on it. If the authorities allow, you can also work in your own garden or on the balcony. Or you can use the time to create new flower combinations for the planters. Even if you are not allowed to garden, you can schedule gardening for the summer and fall seasons to make up for the missed time. You can also find a suitable leisure activity in your own four walls. For example, you can create a spice or herb garden in pots and find out more about the effects of the individual medicinal plants.
Handicrafts for adults encourage creativity
Handicrafts are not only fun for children, but also for adults. We offer you some ideas that will stimulate your creativity. Spice up your home with seasonal household items. For example, you can welcome spring with a garland of colorful paper flowers or put together a spring-like arrangement of flowers and fruits. You can also:
- Drying flowers
- coloring Easter eggs
- Beautify old vases or teapots with the napkin technique
- Paint plaster figures
- Sew new pillowcases
- Make greeting cards for the whole family for Easter (but don’t send them)
A spring decoration puts you in a good mood and drives away negative thoughts. It also promotes concentration and helps to stay mentally active.
What not to do during a home quarantine or curfew
If you want to stay mentally active, there are certain rules you should follow. Plan the daily routine and try to follow the plan as strictly as possible. Try to avoid the following:
- Read the news all the time. Dedicate a maximum of one hour a day to find out about the coronavirus.
- Avoid negative online forums on the subject of “Coronavirus”
- Be critical and find out more from trusted sources
- Do not be frightened or negatively influenced by posts on social networks.
- Avoid keeping a journal or reviewing the past few years. But you can set yourself new goals.
Keep in touch with family and friends. They can give you support during this time. If you are still not feeling well, you can call a psychologist for advice. Don’t give boredom a chance and try to stay active not only mentally but also physically. Make a healthy diet very important.
A quarantine at home or a curfew is always a major challenge. But even if we find it difficult to focus on the positive now, there is hope. New drugs are being developed now, and maybe a vaccine will be developed soon. As a society, however, we are responsible for protecting the elderly and chronically ill. And with exercises, creative activities and good planning, we can use the time wisely. Maybe you will find a new hobby that relaxes you, or like-minded people in an online literature course. Or maybe you are now spending more time with the family and enjoying being together. There is really a lot that you can do within your own four walls. So stay at home, strictly adhere to the regulations and the recommended protective measures of the authorities and keep yourself physically and mentally fit!