Demand for toilet paper and canned food: how not to become a victim of mass psychosis in the midst of a pandemic

Health Tips

“Everyone ran and I ran!”

The rapidly gaining momentum of the coronavirus pandemic could not help but instill anxiety in people. The collapse of the ruble and amendments to the Constitution receded into the background or even the third plan – everyone is interested in security.

Shelves with cereals, stew, canned food and toilet paper are rapidly emptying. True, they are quickly replenished, but this does not stop people: it is better to have in reserve. If you ask customers at the checkout why they need an annual supply of buckwheat, most will answer according to the principle: “Everyone ran and I ran!” Others try to be ironic in social networks: “Guys, open the purchased wine: is it already possible or do I have to wait for a certain day?” Wits advise not to delay with alcohol. What else to do in the evenings, when most offices have switched to remote work, and restaurants and bars are empty? Healthy lifestyle advocates shake their heads: gyms are closing, and there is more food in the house. By the summer, there is every chance not to lose, but to eat those extra pounds …

Don’t leave the room?

It’s interesting how contagious panic is. And it is typical, of course, not only for our country. Stories of bloggers from different continents capture empty supermarket shelves and people in medical masks. Doctors keep repeating that bandages will not protect against coronavirus, but try to find them on sale. Antiseptics and disinfectant wipes are also in short supply. And all this in just a week! In some countries, for example, Australia has introduced a limit on the amount of food and pet products sold. Stores more than three are not allowed in, so as not to create a stir.

Celebrities, following the doctors, are urged to wash their hands more often, not to go out unnecessarily, and offer reasonable leisure options: read unfinished books, watch your favorite films (especially relevant about the epidemic – now they don’t seem fantastic), take time for children, arrange an online party or roll call with friends via skype. The wife of Alexander Ovechkin honestly admits that in the coming days they will not step foot on the street: the house is full of food, she is expecting a second child and is terribly afraid of the virus – it is not worth putting yourself in danger.

View this post on Instagram

Friends, there are a lot of questions about our attitude to the virus, why we bought so many products, etc.! I explain in this post: We have decided for ourselves that in the coming days, weeks, until the situation returns to normal, we will NOT go out into public places! including grocery stores! These are unnecessary risks, and in my position, I have to think not only about myself! Therefore, we will enjoy spending time together at home: cook various dishes, watch movies, read, equip the nursery☺️So, no panic, soon everything will be as before🙌🏽 #be healthy #take care of yourself #besafe

Publication from Nastasiya Ovechkina (@nastyashubskaya)

The whole world is panicking, but in different ways

“People born in the Soviet Union remember shortages and empty shelves on a subconscious level. They remember, despite the fact that we have been living in another state for a long time. Of course, people are scared – no one wants to starve and use a newspaper instead of toilet paper. We are laughing at this: how many memes the pandemic has generated! Nevertheless, everyone rushes to the shops and buys everything they need in case of an emergency. But it is worth looking around: empty shelves with products are regularly replenished. And abroad, where the situation with the spread of coronavirus is much worse, and here. There is no shortage.

At the same time, I advise you to listen to yourself. If you feel more comfortable knowing that you have 50 kg of buckwheat, sanitizers and masks in stock, go and buy them. Do this so that you can sleep peacefully at night. Especially for anxious people. If you think that everything that is happening around is nothing more than a universal conspiracy, do nothing, do not panic. We will definitely not be left without food, after all, summer is coming soon – we will grow radishes.

The whole world is panicking now, but in different ways. I have lived and worked abroad and I know that the mentality of foreigners is very different. For example, in America, films about the apocalypse are part of the culture. Schoolchildren are taught to react quickly in critical situations. For example, in Los Angeles, from kindergarten, they know how to behave during an earthquake, flood, hurricane. We have a slightly different story: we fall into a panic, remembering exactly the Soviet experience with its scarcity and uncertainty.

As a psychologist, I now note a large flow of clients with panic attacks, exacerbations of chronic diseases and psychosomatic manifestations. It makes sense in the current situation. What measures do I personally take? I use a sanitizer and wear latex gloves – in the evening I use a UVC device (ultraviolet quartz irradiator) – I do everything to kill possible bacteria. Plus I drink vitamins: carotene, vitamin C and pantothenic acid. There is also time for meditation – they calm and allow you to feel your body.

What we can do?

Let’s summarize. We have a reason to be nervous: nothing is more frightening than uncertainty. We hear more and more that the world will never be the same again. People are losing loved ones, businesses are failing, the healthcare system is being tested, just like human qualities. Natalia Vodianova drew attention to this in her recent post.

The supermodel spoke about a young woman she knew who started handing out flyers on her cell phone so that older people in her area would have someone to contact. And one hotel in Ireland has begun offering free, home-delivered meals to those in need. In Italy and France, in the evening, everyone comes out onto the balconies and applauds the doctors who do not leave the hospital for twelve hours these days. Offer help to those who are in the worst situation (the elderly, single people, pregnant women are at high risk), thank those who risk saving others.

What can we do in a situation we have no control over? Focus on our circle of influence and keep doing what we can. Communicate more often with loved ones – now there is more time for this. Follow the recommended safety precautions. And don’t lose your sense of humor. Remember that this too shall pass.

Photo:,, Instagram

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