How to Cope With Loneliness and Social Isolation in Today's World
February 28, 2022 Paula Gurnett, C.C.C.
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. But now, between streaming services, the internet, smartphones, and video games, it’s much easier to find an excuse to stay home.
Covid-19 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:
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. Everyone feels better when they’re being productive. Some productive activities include:
● Learn an instrument.
● Volunteer to help others.
● Take a class online.
● Get back into an old hobby or try something new.
● Rearrange the pantry.
● Take the car in for a wash or to have the tires rotated.
● Take the dog for a walk.
● Take a virtual tour that sounds interesting to you (maybe to a far away museum).
● And many more.
2. Connect with others. 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. View beautiful things. What makes something beautiful? It makes you feel a
certain way when you look at it. With your smartphone or computer, you can view
just about anything in the world. Spend some time looking at beautiful things
● Look at old photographs.
● Go to a museum or a historical building.
● Find the most perfect tree in the park and really notice it.
4. Take up a hobby. There are plenty of hobbies you can explore. Paint, color,
garden, play chess online, hike, knit, write, or train your dog. A hobby is
something you choose to do because it brings you pleasure.
5. Get a pet. 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. Paint your nails,
give yourself a hair treatment or facial, and find ways to pamper 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 pain of being alone.
Instead of focusing on this great challenge, try to take advantage of its unique possibilities. You can learn more about yourself and try out a few hobbies. You’re free to explore your interests without interference from others. You’re also free to learn to enjoy your own company!
“Optimism refuses to believe that the road ends without options.”
Robert H. Schuller