RTU psychologist’s recommendations for emotional survival of an emergency

Now we experience a strong alarm – the cancellation of plans, the change in rhythm of life, the uncertainty of what is happening at this time.
Despite the fact that Covid-19 is new to all people, this is still well known stress reaction that affects our emotions, thoughts and behaviors.
During this time, we feel excited and anxious. It is possible, you may easily become angry or overly sensitive. Perhaps what is happening around us is quickly irritating and you want to distance ourselves from people. This is a normal reaction to stress.

What can you do to feel better in this situation?

The main source of anxiety in such situations is the feeling that we can no longer control anything and it is important to regain some control over our daily routine.

• Distinguish real dangers and difficulties from imaginary or exaggerated ones.

• Take a pause and respect your emotional hygiene. As much as possible, avoid surfing the social networks or the media for ever new information about the spread of the virus. This informational noise affects our emotions and increases our sense of anxiety. The more anxious we are, the more we watch the news again. This creates a vicious circle that prevents us from being calm.

• Choose and follow some reliable sources. For example, follow the instructions from the World Health Organization in case of illness, the instructions of Consular Department of your country on what to do if you stacked outside your country, or any trusted person such as experts you trust.

• Follow the usual schedule and your daily routine as much as possible. Get up at the usual time, follow your eating routine. If you exercise, keep doing it at home or in the fresh air. Attend lectures online or take time to write homework or theses. In times of uncertainty routines help us to regain a sense of control.

• Try to maintain physical activity, walk and exercise in the fresh air.

• Distract your attention from worrying news by focusing on something you’ve long wanted to learn. For example, listen to a new lecture, learn something new on online training platforms, make a video-chat with your friends, and explain to your classmates what you are best at.

• Connect with people. It is important to maintain the usual communication, even in a virtual space. Use video calls to connect with family and friends. However, try to avoid each conversation turning into a discussion of the latest news about the virus.

• Support Someone! Ask how do near people feel. Perhaps someone feels even more confused and lonely. For example, a child, an elderly family member or other foreign student staying in Latvia.

• Get involved in some unusual challenge. For example, talk to someone you have not been in contact with for a long time. Look out the window every day and find something new you have not noticed before. Or cook yourself a warm meal every day. Or listen to a new music album every day.

• Take care of yourself. If you find it difficult to cope on your own, contact a RTU psychologist. Advice during quarantine is still available. Write to viktorija.gaina@rtu.lv and schedule time for online consultation.

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