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A Psychologist Explains Why It's So Darned Hard to Just Stay Home

Trouble following social distance

The likely reason we find it difficult to follow social distancing or stay-at-home orders may be "action bias."

When we need to solve problems, we tend to take action in order to feel in charge and take control. That is the reason why, when faced with a crisis, we are told to "do something."

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A Psychologist Explains Why It's So Darned Hard to Just Stay Home

A Psychologist Explains Why It's So Darned Hard to Just Stay Home

https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/social-distancing-stay-at-home-bias-action-eva-krockow.html

inc.com

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Key Ideas

Trouble following social distance

The likely reason we find it difficult to follow social distancing or stay-at-home orders may be "action bias."

When we need to solve problems, we tend to take action in order to feel in charge and take control. That is the reason why, when faced with a crisis, we are told to "do something."

Doing something or doing nothing

When we are faced with a decision, we often make the wrong choice.

For instance, during uncertain times, investments experts remind us that we should either buy or hold, but not sell. Yet most investors sell out of fear that they'll lose more money.

Celebrate inaction

Our cultural values tend to reinforce action bias. If we do nothing, we might be criticized for inaction, while doing something seems like you are at least trying.

We should learn to value inaction when it's appropriate. If you feel compelled to do something, make it a virtual something. Donate to an organization that provides relief, host a webinar, or watch TV.

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"We have to put action before feeling confidence because when we see ourselves doing challenging things, we start to believe we can."

Remote work and children

Many working parents are facing working from home with kids and without access to babysitters, playdates, and even Grandma-dates that you might generally rely on.

It won't be smooth sailing ...

Get Creative With Your Schedule

If you have another adult home with you, consider a split schedule: At the beginning of each day, decide who will be the 'on point' parent. That person will work at the dining room table, feed the kids and suggest activities, while the other parent works in a different room.

One parent can also work before the children are awake, then you can stagger work times during the day, and the other parent can work when the children are in bed.

Be Up Front With Your Boss

Before you make adjustments to your work schedule in order to watch your children, talk to your boss or HR.

Let them know that your transition to home also means being responsible for your children. Create a schedule that you can share with your boss and assure them of your commitment to maintaining the level of excellence they expect.

If you clearly communicate your needs, you will decrease the level of stress and also open the door for coworkers to follow suit.

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Keeping close relationships

Forced separation, while new to most, is a fact of life for the world’s migrants. Many continue close ties with relatives, despite years or decades of physical distance.

Phone calls

Video communication can be too draining and may make feelings of separation more intense. Written communication can feel too impersonal and may not be accessible to people with visual impairments.

Migrant families rely on phone calls for almost all of their communication as calls are intimate and convey emotions without the constant visual reminders of separation.

Communicate to connect

Migrants greet something like this: "I send greetings to you to my grandchildren, to my daughter-in-law, and to all those who surround you."

Such elaborated greetings articulate family relationships that stretch across space. They continually create and re-create connections despite the distance.

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