Not many of us have ever experienced the kind of isolation that this COVID-19 pandemic has brought about. While quarantine for some has been a welcomed break from the hustle and bustle of life and a chance to spend more quality time with the family, for others it has been an incredibly lonely experience away from coworkers, friends, and those they love and need most. Even those who initially welcomed the forced break seem to be starting to convey that this is getting old.
In addition, and to make matters worse, loneliness can make managing stress more difficult. And let’s be honest, we are all surrounded by stress these days from worrying about when the world will fully open up again, when we can start working and earning a living and when life will get back to normal. Many people fear that this could be “our new normal”.
Fighting Loneliness in Healthy Ways
Sadly, during times like these, many people turn to alcohol and other substances as a way to cope with stress and loneliness. Others turn to overeating comfort foods or online shopping sprees. But there are healthier ways you can fight it.
Plan to Stay Connected
During this time it’s important to create a plan to safely stay in regular contact with family and friends. If you are considered within the high risk category, be sure to confirm who you can reach out to if you need help getting food, medications, and other supplies. It’s so important to ASK FOR HELP, even if it’s uncomfortable. Please don’t expect others “to know they should ask” and don’t let the negative self talk of “I don’t want to be a burden” to get in the way. Some people are struggling silently too and quite possibly would love to be given something to feel good about doing. If you know someone high risk, even that neighbor next door, consider putting your mask on and leave a note in their mailbox asking if you could get anything from the store for them. Let them know when you’ll stop by to check their mailbox for their list.
While many of us still cannot be in the same space as our loved ones, we are very lucky we live in a time when phones and digital technology can help us all stay connected. Be sure to schedule regular phone calls and online video chats using apps like Skype or FaceTime. I know “it’s not the same” and we’d love nothing more but to hug again, but we will feel better and decrease “cabin fever” by utilizing the technologies of the times to help us through this isolation.
Get in Touch with Old Friends
Most of us, at some point in our life, lose touch with friends and acquaintances we once shared our lives with. Now is the perfect time to reconnect. And social media makes it very easy to find someone you may have lost contact with years ago. Reach out to those on your friend list that you haven’t connected with in a while. Or maybe schedule routine calls with friends.
During this pandemic, therapy can definitely help you feel more connected. Our practice continues to offer Telehealth services as well as in the office appointments (certain requirements must be met for in office sessions). Telehealth is currently the safest precaution for COVID-19, which means instead of coming into our office, you can speak to us on the phone or over a video conference. Our Telehealth system is actually super easy to use too. A therapist can help you navigate this forced isolation and offer coping strategies to get you through. We’d be happy to help.
Since so many people are in need of therapeutic support to help through this pandemic, I am preparing to add another therapist to offer the same great services and beneficial results many of you have come to expect from me. Check with us to get more information.