How to cope with loneliness amid COVID-19

Social distancing and isolation have become a part of our daily life since March 2020. It is now January 2022 and we are still amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For some, it has taken family members and friends away. For others, its impact has been a financial, emotional and physical one. In order to stay safe, we do our best to limit interactions with others and stay home when possible. With a rapid change in routine it is quite clear that this pandemic has amplified feelings of depression, anxiety and loneliness throughout the world and concern for mental health has escalated.

If you are someone who has been experiencing loneliness, you are not alone. Many people share this feeling resulting from lack of interaction. Not being able to socialize like we have in the past can cause feelings of sadness, anger and the fear of missing out. These feelings are to be expected, and 100% normal. Cancellations of holidays, birthdays and other celebrations have been prevalent since the beginning of the pandemic and further intensify these feelings. Over time, this emotional stress can take a toll on anyone.

According to a blog post by The California Health Care Foundation it states “Loneliness is often exacerbated by a perception that one is lonely while everyone else is connected. It’s exaggerated by a sensation of being outside something that others seem to be in on: a family, a couple, a friendship, a joke. Perhaps now we can learn how flawed that kind of thinking is, because loneliness is one of the most universal things any person can feel. While loneliness is not a medical or psychological diagnosis, it is strongly associated with behavioral health, physical maladies, and increased suicide rates” (CHCF, 2021).

So, what can we do to combat loneliness in times like these?

Video Chatting & Phone Calls: While it’s not quite the same as seeing your loved one in person, it can help tremendously to reach out to someone to let them know you’re thinking of them and vice versa. Talking and catching up for a moment can have a great positive impact on your day.

Spending time outside: Getting some fresh air really does help, especially if you’re someone who works remotely or attends school online. A change in scenery can help to improve your mood and increase productivity throughout your routine. If you’re not feeling great mentally, simply going for a walk or breathing in the air can turn around your whole day.

Invest in your hobbies: Feeling lonely can have us withdrawing from things we usually enjoy doing. Make it a priority to spend time doing the things you love or try something new. It can help you feel accomplished, pass the time and get rid of some of those “FOMO” (fear of missing out) feelings!

Practice self-care: Sometimes we forget that we are human beings ourselves. Taking care of yourself and focusing your energy on your own needs can be a lovely way to remind ourselves that we are worthy even if we don’t feel like it. Take a hot shower, listen to your favorite music, cook your favorite meal, break out that bike in your garage or have a socially distanced picnic at the park. Sometimes the person we need to spend the time most with is our self!

It is normal to feel alone right now, but trust us when we say, you are not. Feeling the effects of this pandemic and doing little things everyday can help combat our shared experience of depression, anxiety and loneliness. Remember to take things one day at a time and that we are all doing this together!

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Published by MentalHygieneCHQ

The purpose of the Department of Mental Hygiene is to plan, develop, and provide accessible, comprehensive, integrated, outcome-based mental hygiene services of the highest quality to residents of Chautauqua County. We are so excited to share with you all our blog! Our blog will cover topics ranging from mental health, education, tips, inspirational stories, and so on! Give us a follow <3

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