Covid-19, TRNC and the psychological process experienced

Cyprus International University (CIU) Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology Academic Member Assist. Prof. Dr. Eliz Volkan gave an interview to the Psychology Today Magazine. Explaining that everyone experiences differing difficulties within the boundaries of COVID-19, Assist. Prof. Dr. Volkan gave information as to how psychological strength can be developed during this process.

Stating that the first wave of COVID-19 was experienced in the TRNC between the dates of 11 March – 4 May, and due to the precautions taken across the country was eliminated successfully, Assist. Prof. Dr. Volkan went on to explain that due to the country’s economy depending on external trade, that limitations to travel and transport were lifted from 1st July, resulting in an increase of COVID-19 cases again.

Assist. Prof. Dr. Volkan advised that despite worldwide limitations being reduced, COVID-19 is still very damaging, and pointed out that “work and research on the subject of COVID-19 continues. However, the COVID-19 process at the same time may contribute to us becoming more psychologically resiliant.” Emphasizing that more research is necessary on this subject, Prof. Dr. Volkan stated that “from the start this pandemic has taught us how to overcome unexpected and unavoidable hitches.”

Traumas from the past to the present and the effects of being unrecognized
Drawing attention to the subjectivity of the issue in terms of Northern Cyprus, Assist. Prof. Dr. Volkan continued as follows: “Previous traumas and setbacks experienced here may have helped the process and psychological reactions in relation to COVID-19. Northern Cyprus, that has war in its past with related traumas, is also a country with political isolation. It is thought that these details and the potential lack of trust towards the government played an important role in the Turkish Cypriots taking responsibility upon themselves, in applying the strict limitations while simultaneously overcoming the psychological weight during the first wave of COVID-19.”

Stating that this process will definitely affect us both economically and psychologically, Assist. Prof. Dr. Volkan underlined that with the emergence of the necessity to be careful against psychological problems that may arise during this period, it is understood how important it is to develop "psychological resilience".

Normal under abnormal situations
Assist. Prof Dr. Volkan also stated that we need to be better prepared for the experiences of anxiety and concern that are laden within uncertainty. “As stated by Viktor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor, it is important to accept that “an abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.” Therefore, the anxiety displayed in response today can be considered as normal under these abnormal circumstances. ”

Healthy nutrition, Healthy Communication
Pointing out that this process is a global learning experience, Assist. Prof. Dr. Volkan said that it is important to keep physical well-being intact, namely healthy eating, regular sleep patterns and regular exercise at home.

Assist. Prof. Dr. Volkan also reminded that we should preserve the routines we have, as routines will be affected during this period, however that it is very important that the routines carried out before the epidemic remain sustainable.

Stating that the ways to communicate virtually should be established, Assist. Prof. Dr. elaborated; "Even if you do not meet face to face with relatives, friends or loved ones, it is very important to stay in touch."

News Date: September 15, 2020