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Dealing With Loneliness and Isolation

With a pandemic sweeping the globe, the topic of loneliness and isolation has resurfaced. With many people high-risk people shielding, under lockdown, or quarantined, the importance of human connection has never been more important. While a large segment of the nation deals with loneliness and isolation all the time, the world is getting a taste of how it feels.

It’s jarring to go for long periods without human contact, especially for people accustomed to getting out and about. This begs the question – how do you deal with loneliness and isolation, whether it’s related to COVID-19 or not.

The Danger & The Balm

an older man feeling loneliness and isolation

In 2017, researchers from the University of Leeds carried out a systematic review of 40 different studies, ranging from 1950 through 2016, on isolation and loneliness. What they found was a link between poor mental health (and all-cause mortality) loneliness. Therefore, looking after your mental health is even more important when you are faced with isolation and loneliness.

Humans are social creatures so it is perfectly normal to feel anxious or stressed out at the prospect of being indoors, alone, away from people. This is further complicated when the reason for isolation is the threat of illness.

Activities

It’s easy to get lost in your feelings of loneliness and isolation. You can divert your attention to the activities you enjoy doing. It could be a podcast series, a television program, or books. It isn’t easy, but there are plenty of activities that you can funnel your focus into as a distraction for a lack of human contact.

If you can get outside, then consider a physical activity that will give you a healthy boost in feel-good hormones. Exercise helps manage stress as well, which will alleviate some of the struggles you’re dealing with regarding isolation and loneliness.

This is also an excellent opportunity to brush up on a long-lost skill or learn a new one! Why not use the internet to learn a new language, how to play an instrument, salsa dance, or even take cooking lessons!

Chat

We’re all in this together so, reach out to friends, family, and relatives who may also be dealing with isolation and loneliness. Create a schedule to video chat (or just pick up the phone and make a call) and use the internet to your social advantage. You can enjoy lunch over video chat, quizzes, puzzles, games, or just general chitchat.

Online Community

Sadly, not everyone has a network to reach out to. If this is your situation, then consider reaching out to an online community. There are plenty of peer support groups on social media that can provide you with an outlet to not only chat with others in a similar situation but also talk about the loneliness and isolation you have been experiencing.

You will feel much less isolated and lonely if you can share your feelings. However, do not be tempted to compare your feelings or situation to others. This is particularly important if you spend a lot of time on social media. Remember, it’s a snapshot of someone’s life and they curate it to share the best bits. Just because others don’t look as though they’re struggling the way you are, does not mean you’re alone.

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