Miroslava L. Pradella, LCSW, CASAC II
Therapist, Licensed Social Worker and School Social Worker promoting mental health wellness. Seek Help=Strength.
How to Cope With Loneliness and Social Isolation in Today's World
Today, it’s challenging to have a great social life. This was true even before Covid-19 became an issue.
In the not-so-distant past, it used to be so boring to stay at home during the evenings and the weekends that people always looked for an excuse to get out of the house. The current situation has only made the situation even more challenging. Now, there is a legitimate reason to avoid others.
While a few select people seem to thrive with very little human contact, most people need to spend time with others to stay emotionally healthy and happy.
Luckily, there are still things you can do to help maintain your emotional health, even when your time with others is reduced.
Learn how to ease the discomfort of social isolation with these tips:
1. Be productive. Just because you might be spending a lot of time alone doesn’t mean you just have to sit there and be miserable. Some productive activities include:
● Volunteer to help others.
● Take a class online.
● Rearrange the pantry.
● Take the car in to have the tires rotated.
● Take the dog for a walk.
2. Connect with others in a safe manner. Use your imagination and find a way to connect with people while making your health a priority.
● Use skype, zoom, and other options for talking “face-to-face.”
● Chat online via forums.
● Sit outside by a fire in the fresh air and have a conversation with a friend.
3. With your smartphone or computer, you can view just about anything in the world. Spend some time looking at beautiful things each day and you’ll feel great.
● Look at old photographs.
● Go to a museum.
● Find the most perfect tree in the park and really look at it.
4. Take up a solo hobby. There are plenty of hobbies you can do by yourself. Paint, play chess online, hike, knit, write, or train your dog.
5. Get the pet that you always wanted. If you don’t have a pet, consider getting one. You can have a more meaningful relationship with the right pet than you can have with 99% of the people in the world. What type of animal interests you?
6. Maintain a high level of self-care. Loneliness and social isolation often lead to poor self-care. It’s important to continue taking good care of yourself even if you’re spending a lot of time alone. For example, a shower isn’t something that you do just for others. It’s also something that you do for yourself.
7. Be creative. Most people find they are more creative when they have time to themselves. Now is an ideal time to take advantage of your solitude. Let your creative juices flow!
● What ideas do you have?
● What do you want to create?
● What do you want to experiment with?
Having a lot of free time alone doesn’t have to be a bad thing. There is a lot you can do to ease the discomfort of loneliness and social isolation. Technology makes it relatively easy to connect with others even if physical proximity is impossible. Feeling productive can also ease the negative feelings of being alone.
You can learn more about yourself and try out a few hobbies. You’re free to explore your interests without interference from others.
Just think - by developing other interests, when the time comes when you can reconnect socially, you’ll have a variety of new things to talk about.
*This article is not a substitute for professional services.
Blog post TheraBlog.