Preventing Loneliness in Times of Social Distancing

Preventing Loneliness in Times of Social Distancing

We’re living in “interesting” and challenging times. The Coronavirus is having an enormous impact on almost everyone around the world and it’s important we take care of our mental health as well as our physical health.

Social distancing has been recommended by almost all public health advocates and so it’s definitely something we should all be practising; but at the same time, we need to remember, that loneliness is pretty much the antithesis of happiness and that happiness can be severely affected if we abandon all connections and interpersonal relationships.

So, how can we hold on to happiness? How can we maintain good mental health and prevent loneliness? Read on…

via Psychology Today by Amelia Aldao

Over the past few days, we have learned that a potentially very effective way of slowing down the spread of coronavirus entails minimizing the amount of physical contact we have with other people. The premise is that “social distancing” can buy us valuable time to contain the disease: Hospitals might be able to manage resources more effectively, scientists could develop a better understanding of how the virus spreads, and pharmaceutical companies might develop vaccines and treatments.article continues after advertisement

So, many of us are starting to work remotely, college students are being sent home, and travel has slowed down considerably. A few hours ago, Broadway shows were put on halt. Clearly, we’re gaining more distance from one another! But with this distance also comes isolation, which means you might start to feel lonely. And we know that loneliness can be very detrimental to our mental health, in particular as it fuels symptoms of depression and anxiety (Lim et al., 2016)

We were already in a “loneliness epidemic” before coronavirus, so more than ever, we have to be proactive in our fight against loneliness. We have to take charge of our social lives and make sure we’re still connecting with others and getting that oxytocin rush that is so important for our emotional health (Kosfeld et al., 2005).

And by the way, this is super important even if you live with other people and will be in isolation with them. You can still be lonely, even if you are with others! This is because we meet our emotional needs through lots of different social interactions with a wide range of people—not just the folks we live with. So, today, I’d like to share a few tips on how to make sure that you can continue to have a healthy, fun, and rewarding social life during these uncertain times of social distancing.article continues after advertisement

1. Text (and call) more!

This might sound super obvious, so it’s easy to downplay its importance, but I strongly recommend being very purposeful and diligent about reaching out to people in your life. Right now, we’re so preoccupied with figuring out if we need to work from home, whether schools are open, or how much food we need to buy that we forget to touch base with friends and family. And when we do, it’s to talk about coronavirus, which might not be that helpful in the long run: Even if it provides us with information and reassurance, it can also make us feel more stressed.

So, as we gain more clarity about this disease and its impact, try making a conscious effort to text and call the people in your life more—and to talk about other topics! Also, don’t forget to set up chat groups with more than one person—having more people will ensure that the conversations will keep going!

… keep reading the full & original article HERE