The Other COVID-19 Toll: Managing Loneliness and Isolation
Human beings thrive on connection. Engaging with others reduces anxiety, helps to regulate emotions, lead to higher self-esteem, and can even improve our immune systems.
While it is critically important that we honor physical distancing requirements to impede the transmission of COVID-19, it is equally important that we remain socially connected with our friends, family, and community to prevent the negative health outcomes caused by isolation and loneliness. In the following article, we will share some helpful suggestions for enhancing connectedness while we are physically separated during this unprecedented global health emergency.
Keep in touch.
While you may not be able to visit with friends and family in person, you can still stay in touch with them. If you are comfortable using technology and are able to do so, there are numerous ways you can stay connected, such as video chat services like Facetime or Zoom, posting on social media, or texting. If you prefer more traditional methods of communicating, send a handwritten letter or call on the telephone. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of social isolation, so do your best to make elderly loved ones a priority.
We sometimes forget that our physical and mental health are delicately intertwined. Spending weeks in isolation without getting any exercise will have a detrimental effect on your ability to cope with the situation at hand and can exaggerate feelings of loneliness. You can stay active without going to the gym. Tai chi and yoga are two good examples of the many low-impact workouts that can be performed in your own home. You can also check out YouTube for an endless assortment of free workout videos. Spending time in nature is wonderful stress-reliever, so consider taking regular walks around your neighborhood or visiting a nearby park if it’s open.
When times are challenging, focusing on others can be a wonderful remedy. What can you do to build up those around you? Perhaps you could write a note of encouragement to a dear friend or call an elderly relative. If you know someone who has lost his or her job during the pandemic, drop off some food or send them a grocery gift card. Take your mind off of your situation by focusing on being of service to your friends, family, and neighbors.
Join an online group.
You can also combat loneliness by participating in online exchanges with other people around the world. Some examples of online connections that you can make include: Facebook groups about topics in which you have an interest; forums about your hobbies; sports games like Fantasy Football; or book clubs.
Expressing yourself through creative means can be therapeutic, whether it involves painting, writing, dancing, or some other art form. Why not take up poetry or start that novel you’ve always wanted to write? Try a new hobby such as jewelry making, origami or calligraphy. You might even focus on culinary arts and try your hand at baking or whipping up some tasty international cuisine.
During this time of uncertainty, anxiety tends to run high, which can exacerbate feeling of loneliness and isolation. Now more than ever, it is important to take care of yourself. Fuel your body by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of water. Strive to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Avoid risky or destructive behaviors, such as abusing alcohol or drugs, excessive gambling or ignoring public health recommendations. Focus on things you can control. And above all, practice gratitude for the many blessings in your life.
Being physically distant from one another does not have to mean the loss of social connections. Rather, it gives us an opportunity to think creatively about how we can connect in new and different ways.
As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, please remember that you are not alone. At Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services, our caring professionals are here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please reach out to us anytime.
About Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services: As a leading African American-owned and operated funeral and cremation organization serving three states, Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services has provided a ministry of care to thousands of grieving families. We promise to provide our highest level of distinguished service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved one. In all aspects of the funeral process, we strive to be the absolute best and are honored to help preserve our clients’ legacies for future generations. For more information, please call us at 215-549-4700 or visit our website.