If you’re feeling stressed out, anxious, sad and lonely because of the pandemic, you’re not alone. We’re all feeling the effects of social isolation, especially while stay-at-home orders are in effect.
While quarantines and social distancing are necessary measures to prevent the virus from spreading they also lead to loneliness and social isolation, which in turn produce physical and mental health related repercussions. However, taking steps to make social connections, participating in healthy activities, and managing emotions and psychiatric symptoms can help relieve the adverse consequences of loneliness and isolation.
It's tricky but important to take care of your health when you're feeling socially isolated and lonely. Here are some tips to combat loneliness and social isolation:
Virtual Dinners - Arrange to have a meal at the same time as friends and family, and use video conferencing to talk and see each other. It might not feel the same as sharing a meal at the same table, but it's surely close enough and definitely safer.
Start a new hobby - If you've always wanted to try a new hobby, now is the time! Many of us have taken on painting, sewing, woodwork and other arts and crafts. Some of us have started cooking and baking.
Play online games with friends - If you're comfortable using a smartphone or tablet, there are many free online games that you can play on your own or with friends. Last week, I played online charades with some friends. It was so much fun! Video conferencing has been such a blessing, not only facilitating work, but play too!
Get a pet! - Pets are great company, anyone who has one, will agree. Having a pet to take care of can provide a sense of purpose and reduce feelings of social isolation. Studies on animal companionship have demonstrated the potential benefits of pet ownership on our physical and mental health.
Get some fresh air and sunshine - Walk down a different street or along a new trail to keep your mind stimulated and your feet busy. As you’re walking, notice the trees, plants, people, and animals. Take in the smells and sounds of nature and everyday life.
Grow plants - gardening can be another great way to get some air and sunshine. If you don't have a garden, grow some herbs or flowers in a pot. Tending to plants and watching them flourish can be so therapeutic, and it also gives us a sense of achievement.
These are some ways to beat the loneliness and boredom we are all experiencing. I can imagine how challenging these times can be for some. At in4MED, we can make this stressful time easier by connecting you to local support systems and being there for you as your trusted health advocates. As always, feel free to connect with me or leave a comment.
COVID-19 Mental health and wellbeing https://cmha.ca/news/covid-19-and-mental-health
Resource Hub: Mental health and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic https://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/covid19
Provincial mental health support https://ontario.cmha.ca/provincial-mental-health-supports/
The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers.
*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.