Staying Strong in Solitude
A Guide to Dealing with Isolation
Published: May 28, 2021
As the effects of the global pandemic continue to be felt around the world, the word “isolation” has come to mean “safety” for people. Staying apart is no longer a result of one’s choices, but a mandate to stop the spread of a virus that has already claimed the lives of many. While quarantining at home may have preserved the well-being of many individuals, they are also becoming prone to a mental and emotional strain from being in their own little worlds.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults aged 50 and older, in particular, who are socially isolated are at greater risk of dementia. A decline in social relationships stemming from isolation can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. The loneliness that one feels from being isolated is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and even suicide. Some factors that can aggravate the negative effects of isolation include living alone, losing loved ones, chronic illness, and hearing loss.
It is important now, more than ever, to reach out to family and friends who may not have the strength to do so themselves. Combating isolation is difficult, but a show of support can light the way forward for those who are currently stumbling in the dark. Here are some ways to deal with isolation:
Keep communication lines open.
Don’t let your inability to go outside and travel prevent you from maintaining your connection with your loved ones. Go online for a chat or call them via phone for regular catch-up sessions so they will always be reminded that someone is looking out for them. You can also take part in online forums and peer support groups and meet others who are going through the same hurdles.
Ask for help.
Often, people tend to bottle up their loneliness as others tend to shut them down or view it as a sign of weakness. However, remember that there will always be someone who understands that a burden can be too hard to bear for one person alone. If someone comes to you, listen without prejudice. Don’t make them feel small or invalidate what they’re feeling.
Work on old passions or chase a new one.
Use the time that you have to feed your soul with creative pursuits. Stay active by working on home improvement projects, or enrolling in online classes that can expand your skill set. You can even invite friends and families who may share the same interests for meaningful collaborations and an overall enjoyable learning journey!
When we’re alone, it’s easy to feel like the walls are closing in and there’s no space to move around in. Don’t let the shadows engulf you — keep in mind that you matter, and although you are far from those you hold dear, distance can’t really get in the way of love.