How to Avoid Loneliness and Isolation when Social Distancing
When practicing social distancing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, we do not want to cross a line into social isolation and loneliness. Long-term isolation can generate negative consequences related to mental, physical, and social health. Here are a few things we can do to keep ourselves engaged while maintaining appropriate distancing.
Get Out and Be Active
Take a walk, hike, exercise on the back porch, ride a bike, or practice yoga in the park. Exercise can improve mood, sleep, self-esteem, reduce stress, and increase energy. Exposure to sun will increase the body’s production of Vitamin D. Healthy vitamin D levels promote an elevated mood. Studies have also shown that just being outside increases our cognitive ability.
Connect with Family & Friends
Social distancing doesn’t mean losing contact with family and friends. It just means we must be more creative to “get together.” Today’s video conferencing technologies let us connect one-on-one and in group settings.
Consider Getting an Animal Companion
With time at home comes the opportunity to give our pets the initial attention and training they need to become model family members. Pets can provide companionship and can also provide comfort during these stressful times. If you’re not sure you are ready for the commitment required by pet ownership, consider fostering a homeless animal. Both you and your foster get the benefits of temporary company, and you get the opportunity to set your temporary companion up for success as they transition into their permanent home.
Learn Something New
There are many free online applications that will teach you a new skill, get you a certification, or introduce you to a potential new hobby. Many of us wish we had the time to expand our base of knowledge in areas that interest us. Social distancing may be providing is that opportunity!
Get Involved In Your Community
As we maintain mandated social distancing, community needs continue. There are a wide variety of these needs that can be fulfilled while still complying with distancing guidelines. A quick online search will generate a wide variety of volunteer opportunities near you, or that can be from your home. Volunteering keeps us engaged and helps us to see the value of the greater good.
If your circumstances dictate, this can be the most important action you can take. If you feel like loneliness and social isolation are having a significant negative impact on your health and well-being, please reach out for help. See a family practice doctor, a counselor, or a KWC coach.
Jonathan DelosSantos is the Clinical Administrator at KWC Mesa