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Psychology we need in a period of confinement

At the time of writing, France and many countries around the world have adopted containment measures. This period, which will later be recounted as a historical period, marks in my opinion the change in work-related mentalities.

What do I mean by this? Simply that the coronavirus crisis (COVID-19), will profoundly change our vision of the world of work and health, and that this crisis will highlight the benefits of a better informed world where telework is no longer just an option for a few elected officials in startups, but an integral part of an employee's schedule.

I may come back to these dimensions in a future article, for the moment this is not the objective. The purpose of this article is to highlight the psychology to adopt in a period of confinement. Time to get started!

First: yes, there will be many people who will find themselves unemployed. And it is this problem that will bring about the economic crisis that is gradually emerging. Politicians are trying to reassure the population, through stimulus packages, aid, tax cuts, but the reality is there, there are many people who are going to have to change their job... and it is not necessarily a tragedy, that's why.

I know my words may offend some people, but you should never think of an event, such as a job loss, as a tragedy. If you ask me, crises such as the one we're about to have release great new talent: talent that was hitherto hidden by jobs in which these people found themselves, sometimes unintentionally.

So here's a first thing to remember: I don't think that a crisis like the one we're going to face is entirely the result of mass job losses, and business failures, because of containment. I think that the crisis is going to come mainly from the mentalities of the people affected.

If everyone saw a job loss as an opportunity to see new things or to retrain, I think the economy would function better and the labour market would be more flexible. We would also be a country that would produce many new innovations as a result of the great daring of people who wanted to try new things.

Second: let us assume that the period of containment will be very long. Why is that? Because it is better to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised by a shorter period than to expect the best and then gradually see a feeling of fatality and powerlessness when governments extend the period of confinement from week to week.

Another very simple benefit of expecting containment over a very long period of time is that by expecting the worst, we will instinctively put processes in place - a plan - to prepare for it, and to deal with the worst. Do you see where I'm going with this? The individual who expects the best and is overly optimistic in a time of containment is not going to plan for anything and is not going to prepare for the worst, because for him, everything is fine, and everything will be fine! This is an undeniable quality in normal times, but it is a very bad idea in times of crisis: nobody knows how long the confinement will last, not even the heads of state. So why you? Prepare serenely for the worst so as not to be overwhelmed, and you will come out of it - in the worst case - very well prepared.

Finally, and this is an area that particularly affects me, many people have the need to talk to people, to see new things, to take the air, to breathe, and to do many activities: this is my case. I can't stand having to stay several days - even very productive days - at home, I need my daily outing for my sports session, to see my family, my friends, and to meet new people.

My advice is therefore not to remain cloistered in silence, and to withdraw into oneself. We can't go out, of course, but we live in spectacular times where any movie or game can be accessed by sitting on the couch. Use this technology as much as you can to make video calls with friends, but also to catch up with your family.

What I'm about to tell you would probably have sounded... pretty weird in my mouth just a few months ago, but I don't think it's going to hurt anyone to spend some time playing online games to get out of your mind. This is important, especially if you are starting teleworking for the first time, because there are two very important rules with this practice: know how to start, and know how to stop. It takes time. When we work from home, we don't necessarily see time running out, we can easily find it difficult to separate work and personal life: it's a problem that many people are probably experiencing right now.

That's pretty much all I wanted to say about the coronavirus crisis and the period of containment that many of us are going through right now. Take care of yourself, don't stay in your corner, discover new activities, and take the opportunity to rest. You'll come out of it stronger, believe me.

Mar 30, 2020