LONELINESS, DURING AND BEYOND THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC.
The paramount focus of people today is the coronavirus pandemic. With this, social distancing is strongly advised as a preventive measure. However, social distancing for many, also accentuates a loneliness pandemic which is already ramped across the country. This sense of loneliness can bring a tremendous sense of emptiness and despair. Some researchers believe that loneliness is more deadly than obesity or smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. Unfortunately, when this coronavirus pandemic is gone, the loneliness pandemic will continue, adversely affecting people’s lives, with feelings of disconnectedness from others.
Loneliness is actually a state of mind. It causes people to feel empty, alone, and unwanted. People who are lonely often crave human contact, but their state of mind makes it more difficult for them to form connections with others. However, having a sense of connectiveness, though difficult at times, is vital to mental and physical. health.
People who are retired, disabled, unemployed or under employed can especially feel a sense of isolation and of not belonging. The inability to find purpose and meaning only reinforces any anxiety, depression or an indifference toward life. Cutting ourselves off from others can create a mentality of being inadequate or flawed.
What can people do in order to counteract the sense of loneliness during these troubling times? Here is some food for thought:
- Acknowledge that you are feeling lonely. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Like other feelings, it is neither good nor bad. It just exists.
- Many people minimize or discount those people who would be there if the need presented itself. Therefore, identify those people and cultivate those relationships. and avoid those who are toxic.
- Video chat has a high level of social presence, while texting has a low one. Therefore, wherever possible, make some social contact with others even if it through video chatting.
- Take time out to do the things around the house that make you feel good. Perhaps feeling good would mean relaxing by listening to music, taking a bath, or just sitting, doing nothing but reading a good book.
- You can use being alone as a time to get back in touch with yourself. Focusing on what you’re grateful for and having self-compassion is a way of treating ourselves with the same kindness and caring we’d offer a good friend.
- Do something that is creative and develops a sense of purpose. There are many things that one can choose to do that is new and different. They can include
sketching. painting, knitting, learning a new language, developing something educational on youtube. Do anything that gets your creative juices flowing.
- Adopting a pet, be it a dog, cat or bird can add companionship and more satisfaction to your daily life. It can also be beneficial for your mental wellness by decreasing stress, anxiety and depression.
When this coronavirus ends, getting out and connecting with others face to face is critical. This can be done in many ways. It can happen by volunteering in the community, being involved in a church group, being active in a political group, participating in a meet up group that is aligned with others with the same interests, participating with others in a pet project, just to mention a few. Regardless of what it may be, the importance lies with getting out of your rut and jumping into life.
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