Well Being

Coping With Loneliness As We Continue to Physically Distance

COVID-19 has been disrupting our lives for nearly a year. It might not seem like “we’re all in this together” anymore. Especially if you live alone or have a health condition that puts you at increased risk, social distancing can be particularly trying.

“We are, by our nature, social creatures who are literally wired to connect with others, and we need that connection in order to help us grow and thrive,” says marriage and family therapist Chad Perman.

As we roll into the fall months, it’s going to be even more important to take care of your mental and physical health.

Physical Distancing Doesn’t Mean Social Isolation

“It’s important that we do our very best to stay socially connected – it can literally help our immune systems function better, as well as ward off the effects of loneliness,” says Perman. “To stay connected to our friends, family, and the larger world during this time, it’s important to reach out to others, to participate in online communities or gathering places, and to find new ways to socialize without leaving the house.”

Thanks to technology, we are never more than a text, screen, or phone call away from others, and it’s vital that we engage with people in whatever ways we can. Also, for those who used to enjoy physical human connections, they may not have the privilege as before. This could lead to a spiral toward depression and loneliness. Even though they keep in touch through texts and calls, they may still display symptoms of being alone. Such individuals can resort to healthy hobbies, have their partner close by, or even invest in a silicone love doll so that it takes their minds away from unhealthy thoughts. As there is a possibility that we could get back to normalcy, it is important not to overindulge in these extra habits that we take up over the pandemic. Also, with a growing craze for online casino games and other multiplayer games, people may have found another way to interact with friends amid the pandemic. Online games can let you chat with co-players while playing matches. Moreover, real casino slot games online and table games can also provide entertainment and distraction from the ongoing situation.

Perman says the first thing we need to do is reach out. It’s particularly important for those who find themselves experiencing excessive worry and even panic. “Reach out to others. Don’t try to be ‘strong’ by going it alone,” says Perman. “That often only makes things worse. Remember, our brains have been wired over millions of years to value and need a connection with others.”

“Check in with your friends, family, and loved ones – especially over video, where you can see their face,” says Perman. “Create or join virtual communities or activities – many of which have sprung up online organically in the past week – so that you can ‘hang out’ with others and unwind, de-stress, or simply enjoy one another’s company.”

Practice Good Self-care

“Getting physical exercise in whatever ways we can, getting good sleep, and trying to eat well are all important,” says Perman. “Reading a good book, listening to music you love, or seeking out other creative or artistic activities and outlets can be enormously restorative and connecting as well. Perman also suggests:

  • Meditation or other mindfulness habits and practices. These can help us create both an internal anchor for ourselves and ground us in the present here-and-now experience. Calm.com offers free meditations
  • Finding meaning or purpose. It’s a great way to out of our own heads and into a place where we can be present for ourselves and for the world around us. Volunteering in the community can be a great way to do this. Know how to sew? Volunteers are being sought to sew masks for hospital staff.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. It can remind us of all the good that exists all around us, even in these challenging times.
  • Find a good podcast. In this podcast, the team at Vivacity Care Centers discuss unique challenges of our current times and how COVID-19 has impacted people’s mental, emotional, and physical health. Whether you feel isolated, or have increased stress and anxiety, the Vivacity Care Center team offers alternative solutions to help. If you’re in the Spokane area, check out the patient-centered care options available at Vivacity Care Centers.

This time may be especially difficult for seniors who don’t have many connections or who are not able to get outside. Perman suggests that senior citizens who have previously been resisting technology (especially smartphones) consider changing that stance, and perhaps giving it a try. “Learning how to use things like basic texting or video calls can go a long way right now towards keeping them more connected with their friends and loved ones who won’t be able to physically spend much time with them during this current crisis,” says Perman.

But for seniors who aren’t able to spend time connecting online, a few other things to consider would be reading more (especially fiction), staying physically active, and writing letters or cards to loved ones to increase their sense of human connection. Senior care is important and if they do not have a family to check in on them, this time can be harder. In particular, if they need help doing even the most basic of tasks, they may have to look into Round the clock care options. The seniors have contributed so much to our society. Now is the time for us to repay them for all of the love and care they have given us. That is why it is important that our communities can rally together and provide for those in need, whether this is by joining in with an in home healthcare franchise or creating a volunteer system. Seniors need to know that they are not alone.

This is also a good time for us to check in on our senior neighbors and offer help in whatever ways we can. Offer to buy groceries and leave them on the doorstep or run essential errands. “Kindness, connectivity, and compassion are vital right now, especially for our more vulnerable populations and we should all be thinking about innovative ways to provide these things to seniors during this health crisis,” says Perman.