New rules and old habits: how to communicate during an epidemic


Have breakfast at the bar, go to our newsagent’s, go to work by bicycle. Shopping on Saturday afternoon, the gym on Sunday morning. What happens when an extraordinary event like an epidemic breaks into our lives, changing our habits? Eco della Stampa represents a privileged observatory for monitoring emerging behaviors and communication styles.

What are habits
In psychology, the word “habit” indicates a behavior that occurs regularly and requires minimal cognitive effort, because it is automated. Habits make our life easier, they make us carry out actions without thinking, they are thought shortcuts. Although they are difficult to change, they are created in stable situations, therefore they are put to the test when an “earthquake” occurs.

We’ve been seeing him for a few weeks. Our behaviors, after the Government decree issued to counter the Coronavirus emergency, have gone from automated to conscious and premeditated. Before leaving the house, even just to go shopping, we must fill in a self-certification. To walk the dog outdoors, we can’t move away from our neighborhood.

Self-isolation weighs on everyone, there’s no denying it.


There is good news: want is power. This is not the discovery of hot water, but the result of scientific investigations. If we combine willpower with awareness, we will be able to overcome this moment, achieving great results.

Our daily life is being redesigned, modeling itself somewhat on the life of the elderly. On Sunday we went to mass and not to shopping centres. On Saturday evenings we stayed at home and played cards. Clubs and pubs didn’t exist. Time for the girls was spent listening to the radio, chatting with friends through the handset. Many devoted themselves to manual hobbies, such as drawing, embroidery, sewing, pastimes that today have become tutorials on social networks .


How do you change

Let’s take a few examples to give an idea.

We are in our city, the streets are almost  Taiwan Mobile Number List deserted, the nightlife has been reset. Restrictions and fear of contagion force us to stay at home. The atmosphere is surreal, but life continues to pulsate inside our homes. What can we do to pass the time, without forgetting our duties?

First, we have to welcome remote working . L’Eco della Stampa has dedicated an extensive article to this topic , highlighting how the practice  of smart working brings benefits to both the company and the employee. Working in your comfort zone means not having stress, not wasting time traveling, reducing conflicts with colleagues.

After work, at home, today we can really enjoy the home . The more daring can dedicate themselves to maintenance, to the big spring cleaning, to changing the wardrobe. Anyone who loves to cook can experiment with new recipes. Listening to the radio , which previously took place on board the car, amidst the noise of traffic and the tyranny of time, is now a pleasure that we can fully indulge in.

To revive the inanimate streets, colored drawings and tricolor flags emerge from the balconies . “Everything will be fine” is the phrase that accompanies the rainbows made by children, but also by many adults. And there are those who, through the windows, have re-adopted ancient ways of communicating, calling their neighbors in a loud voice, singing, playing the Italian anthem.

Forced to keep two meters away from people, when we are away from home we are all experiencing the importance of proxemics , i.e. the body moving in space. This too is a way of communicating that we have taken for granted for too long.

Relationships online and offline

phone number list

In this period, as never before, Italians live in front of the screen. Everyone feels the need to express opinions about the disease, few actually know about it. Thus, the contradictions of online communication emerge.

How many times, through social media , have we Hong Kong lead  concluded a message by writing “I hug you”? Would we really have wanted to hug our interlocutor? Probably not, but the expression had become mere habit.

Today the reasonable renunciation of physical contact makes us understand how precious the hug of a loved one is, how much we miss the elderly we cannot go to visit. This is why something good can be born from the upheaval of our habits.

habit epidemic communication
Work by Nicola Perucca

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