27 Oct Coping with COVID-19 loneliness
Physical distancing is important – it keeps us healthy and can help keep people even more vulnerable safe too. It also helps ensure our hospitals can manage their caseloads of COVID-19 and other patients who require specialized care.
The virus is also leaving many people feeling lonely and isolated, regardless as to whether they spend their days alone, or not. We’re all missing our lives as we knew them and the freedoms that were so easy to take for granted. Although we may be missing friends and family, life as it is now, won’t last forever, and the reunions we will have will all be extra sweet.
The good news, is that there are things we can do to fend of loneliness and isolation and to help us feel more connected.
- Start each day with something meaningful to you: Practicing self-care is a great way to prioritize both physical and mental wellness. By starting your day with a little investment in your own well-being, you’ll set the stage for a more positive day. Think meditation, exercise, preparing a healthy breakfast, writing in a journal, or listening to a favorite playlist as you get ready for the day ahead.
- Be social: It may be safe to say that the novelty of virtual meetings has worn off, but for now, this is the safest way to stay connected whether for work or with friends and family. Make an effort to organize and participate in virtual get-togethers because they’re what we have right now. Get together virtually with friends from work for coffee; enjoy a meal with family this way; or pick up the phone and enjoy a chat the old fashioned way. Even if you don’t feel like reaching out and connecting, we think you’ll find that if you do, you’ll feel the better for it.
- Get moving: Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin which are excellent mood boosters. Whether you leash up the dog and go for a walk; enjoy a socially-distanced walk with a friend or neighbour; go for a run or bike ride; or following an on-line exercise class, being physically active will boost both your physical and mental health.
- Invest in your health: Many Canadians are finding this period in their lives to be an ideal time to make changes for the better and healthier. While some people are exercising less and eating sub-optimally, others are moving more, cooking and eating at home, losing weight, taking up meditation, practicing gratitude, adhering to a sleep schedule, discovering new interests, enjoying more family time, or making relaxation a priority. Try to view this period of change as an opportunity rather than just something to get through.
- Be productive: Times may be a little different at the moment, but you should strive to make every day as full and productive as it was pre COVID-19. Wake up, get ready for the day, tackle your to-do list, get your work done, make a little time for personal interests, and stick to your regular sleep schedule.
- Get help: If these measures don’t relieve feelings of loneliness and isolation, reach out to a friend, family member or your physician. Many therapists offer on-line or over-the-phone support and therapy. You’re not alone: COVID-19 is a shared experience affecting virtually everyone on earth in multiple ways.