Human beings are social by nature. We’re wired to form bonds, support each other and survive as a group. Simple companionship and active contact keep us grounded. What then does one do when this vital support system is suddenly cut off from our lives?
How does one cope with loneliness during a pandemic?
We’ve all been feeling loneliness during the lockdown…
We might be doing our part to arrest the spread of the virus by practicing social distancing measures and sheltering at home, but it’s no secret that the abrupt change in our routines has taken a toll. Many people were affected by the long months of Covid-19 restrictions, albeit to varying degrees.
Some are faring better than others, some are struggling to cope with the situation: according to a survey conducted late last year, one in four adults in the UK, especially younger adults, said that they experienced feelings of loneliness in the past two weeks.
Besides the ensuing isolation from family and friends, other systemic issues were exacerbated by the lockdown. This added to the heavy burden weighing on people’s minds: unemployment due to business closures or downsizing, full-time students and the academe having to adjust their methods without warning, single parents trying to run households while also working from home, and more.
How has pandemic loneliness affected our mental health?
Short-term feelings of loneliness are a normal part of life. Having them from time to time shouldn’t be harmful to one’s mental health. With the social distancing measures we’ve had to practice due to the pandemic, however, more people are feeling lonely for prolonged periods.
This isn’t healthy. Long-term loneliness has been associated with increased susceptibility to mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, as well as higher stress levels. When not addressed quickly or properly with the guidance of a life coach or therapist, this type of loneliness and its effects on a person can become more difficult to manage.
What do I do when I or a loved one is feeling lonely?
Due to these unprecedented circumstances, going back to how it was before isn’t practical or safe. There are some strategies that Daftein’s professional life coach recommends to help you or your loved one manage these feelings during lockdown:
Explore alternative ways of connecting with friends and family. While you can’t be together physically, the internet has made it possible to keep in touch with loved ones virtually. Video calling apps, virtual game sites and various other social media platforms have become essential to those who want to keep in touch with each other and stave off feelings of isolation. It’s also been a tool to reach out to friends and family; you can become more active online and check in regularly with each other.
Join a forum or attend online gatherings. Who says you can’t meet new people while on lockdown? Several servers and online groups have risen and become more active during the pandemic and it has been quite useful for those looking to connect with people who have the same interests and hobbies as they do. By serving as a digital gathering space, these pop-up online communities are able to foster a sense of companionship in their members, thereby lessening instances of feelings of isolation.
Share your lockdown feelings and creations — but don’t compare. The simple act of sharing, even if it’s just a small note on your social media platform addressed to no one in particular, is a weight off your chest. So, go ahead and share what’s been keeping you busy while you’ve been sheltering in place on social media. But take care not to compare yourself with what others have been up to. We’re all coping in our own ways, and it shouldn’t have to matter that someone else is “better” at an activity or doing something more “impressive” than you. What matters is that we’re all trying to make the best of the circumstances and being supportive.
Volunteer your time virtually. Unless you’re a medical frontliner or an essential worker, your options for helping out will most likely be limited to volunteering virtually. That doesn’t mean it’s any less important or impactful than if you shared your time in person. So, don’t hesitate to volunteer. Any sort of help counts and you might be the type that gains fulfillment from helping out — it’s a win-win situation that can help you feel less lonely.
Reach out to a professional life coach for help. If you feel like you need a little more guidance to manage your loneliness and avoid forming bad habits while practicing social distancing, a professional life coach could provide you with a support system. Your coach will help you, from finding ways to cope that takes your particular circumstances into account to simply checking in with you and your mental health, so you can recover a sense of hope.
What other strategies have you found helped you cope with having to physically distance yourself with your social support system? Talk to Daftein about your experience.
Who can I reach out to for professional help?
Caring for one’s self, especially mentally, is always important. With the pandemic upending the world, we owe it to ourselves to stay extra vigilant about the state of our mental health. So, if you or a loved one is struggling to cope, turn to us. We will work with you to discover ways to manage your negative feelings, strengthen bonds between you and your loved ones and check in with you regularly to keep you on track.
If you are in need of a professional life coach, Daftein is offering its services at half-price.
Book a call today to discuss your coaching options