Loneliness can also be an epidemic
Time on our own can be great. But humans are social beings. We need contact. We need each other.
Amidst the Covid social distancing measures, whilst we might know they are prudent and want to do our bit, indications are that these measures are for the long-haul.
So we need to look after ourselves.
We need other people. Acknowledging that is key.
Whether it’s a daily pint, a chat, having a laugh at the watercooler… all the levels of human interaction we enjoy, from the fleeting ones, to the deeper connections, are important. They keep us mentally healthy.
The Covid situation is likely to change this. Particularly if we live alone, something like Covid can make it harder to cope – but there are many ways to stay connected and many people out there to do it with. We are not alone.
Being alone can be restorative. And seeking solitude is something sometimes we need to learn how to do and experience just how good it can be for us. But the Covid virus is different. It’s going to enforce solitude – and that can bring loneliness.
“Loneliness is my least favourite thing about life. The thing that I’m most worried about is just being alone without anybody to care for or someone who will care for me.”
In normal times we can connect in various ways – from social rituals, shared activities, to intimacy. Whatever the level of social connection you are used to and that you seek – take note of what you need.
Finding a new kind of togetherness
It’s normal and very desirable to need human connection – and we all look after ourselves and others right now.
“Keep in mind that to avoid loneliness, many people need both a social circle and an intimate attachment. Having just one of two may still leave you feeling lonely.”
Let’s not leave it too long before getting what we need. Act early. Going too far into withdrawal and loneliness can make it feel harder to get back to normal.
In these strange times, without the shallow but important daily social connections we all make – we might find we need someone to really talk to. To share our fears, our plans for when Covid is over, the people we miss and feelings that this global outbreak is triggering. That’s where a professional can help.
It might even help you get something more positive out of this extraordinary epidemic.
Here are 7 ways to cope when you’re feeling isolated in these trying times, even if some of the methods are more distant than we want or are used to:
It can be very difficult when we are alone too much to focus, to stay balanced, to keep motivated. And we all need support through the tough things in life – whether we live alone or not. So take heed of your mental state early on. Keep checking in with yourself. There’s no shame in reaching out.
Find your therapist
There may be some loneliness ahead. But there is also support and connection on every level out there; the internet is our friend and together we will get through this.
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