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5 Ways To Fight Loneliness During Social Isolation

5 Ways To Fight Loneliness During Social Isolation

Social isolation can sound like an introvert’s paradise. Unfortunately, that’s simply not the reality. Human beings are naturally social creatures. As such, even the most withdrawn individuals need social contact occasionally – and that need is even worse for extroverts!

It’s easy to feel lonely and afraid when you must separate from the rest of the world. Here are five ways to fight loneliness during social isolation.

1.    Keep Yourself Wisely Up-to-Date

Self-isolating is necessary to keep ourselves and our loved ones saved in this pandemic, but it comes with the side effect of a lack of contact. This, however, can make loneliness crippling – especially for those of us who are already surrounded by strangers. Here are a few ways to combat this:

·         Check The News During Social Isolation

No matter how much positive thinking you engage in, it is easy to feel helpless in these trying times. A recent 2020 study, however, showed that staying updated on the latest precautionary advice and health information can help with your mental resilience and functioning.

·         Connect Socially

It can be easy to feel dissociated and disconnected when you can’t check in on your loved ones, much less when the streets are empty, and you’re physically alone. Instead, do your best to check in on friends and family – either via calls, text, or only just seeing their life updates on social media.

·         Know Your Limits

With just how much information there is waiting to assault you from the moment you turn on your phone, it is easy to find yourself overwhelmed. Even worse is when most of this news is harmful. In such cases, it’s best to curate your feed and take breaks as needed.

2.    Engage Your Mind With Activities

Loneliness can be crippling if you do not occupy that space and silence – no matter who we are or when it happens. During such moments, the best way to combat it is to fill it up with activities that truly engage our mind and senses. (Mindless activities, after all, don’t serve very good distractions either.) Here are a few ideas you can try:

·         Sing Along To Music You’re Listening To

There’s something incredibly enjoyable about singing along to the radio while dancing in the kitchen or driving in the car. As it turns out, that enjoyment is now backed by science! While plenty of studies have shown that singing in a group (for example, as part of a choir) can be therapeutic, a study has also shown that these therapeutic benefits still come into play when you’re singing along to a pre-recorded song.

So turn up the volume on Spotify, or watch one of the many virtual concerts now available online and sing along!

·         Find Something That Absorbs Your Mind

With the recent pandemic, many of us are now quickly learning just how much time work eats up in our daily schedule. While taking some time to relax is a good thing, it’s best to fill up those empty time slots with absorbing activities – preferably something that can get you into a state of ‘flow.’

Studies define ‘flow’ is a mental state where you find yourself pleasurably focused and immersed in the task at hand. It can keep you occupied – and in the process, keep at bay negative thoughts and rumination. Activities like drawing, knitting, or playing games are great for this!

·         Let Fiction Take You On Adventures

There are plenty of good stories out there, be it via shows, movies, books, videos, streams, or even fanworks. If you haven’t given yourself a chance to be wholly absorbed by a good tale, now’s the best time to do it – especially since studies have shown immersing ourselves in the lives of fictional characters can net us a definite benefit! According to the study, fictional worlds and people can double as social surrogates, which can help combat loneliness during these difficult times.

·         Take An Online Or Virtual Exercise Class

In place of our usual activities and social gatherings, it’s easy to find ourselves vegetating out in front of a screen. Doubly so since all forms of entertainment and information now best come through the internet. The need to keep ourselves healthy is essential. Studies show that you can also combat loneliness if exercising is a social activity like a fitness class. Plus, the structure, social support, and group energy you will generally get from a fitness class can help you stay socially connected and grounded.

So consider taking up virtual sessions with a personal trainer, or join a live-streamed workout class. It may be just what you need!

3.    Get Your Nostalgia Going

Some may think that nostalgia is the worst thing to experience at this point. After all, is it not generally associated with being sad? Would that not make loneliness worse? As it turns out, that’s not quite the case:

·         Nostalgia Counteracts Loneliness

Studies have shown it’s easier to maintain positive thinking if you believe you have an increase in perceived social support – something that nostalgia helps with. Try backing up your photo and video collection, or organize and share them with loved ones. Reminiscing with friends and family over happy memories may just give you the social interaction you need to combat loneliness.

·         You Appreciate Them Better

When was the last time you took the time to appreciate all that you and your loved one have gone through? A little positive nostalgia makes one reflect on all the good things that have happened, and it can be helpful. Studies have shown that doing such a thing can create a greater sense of support and secureness in your relationship – which may be just what you need to combat loneliness.

·         It Reminds You Of What You Have

Nostalgia is, in a way, a form of meditation and self-reflection. And in these quiet moments, we tend to end up realizing just how we are loved in so many ways, by so many people. This can create a better appreciation of the relationships we have – and in turn, reduce our loneliness.

4.    Schedule Social Interaction From A Distance

At the end of the way, there’s no getting around it – we have to get our social interactions somehow. Thankfully, the internet has made it easier to connect to those around us virtually. Here are a few ideas to get you started on growing and expanding your online social network:

·         Contact Those You’re Close To

Nothing will ever beat meeting up in person, but studies prove that some kind of contact is better than none. Schedule a virtual meet-up via some kind of video or voice chat about doing something together – like baking cookies, playing games, or watching a movie.

Planning a daily or weekly event can give you and your loved ones something to be excited about and combats time blindness and loneliness. Even if you can’t make it a big event every time, just checking in for 10 minutes can be incredibly helpful in fending off loneliness.

·         Adapt To Online Efforts

There’s no reason to bemoan the closing of your monthly book club when it’s still being hosted online. If your usual social events and gatherings haven’t transitioned into online spaces yet, then try hosting them virtually yourself!

·         Seek Online Communities

Online communities for specific hobbies or interests have always existed – and now it’s only gotten so much easier to find and join them. And they don’t have to be just forum-based text messages, either. Live-streamed classes covering just about any hobby and subject imaginable are easily available, as are group video-calls for classes and discussions. Just start looking!

· Don’t Mindlessly Scroll Through Social Media – Interact!

It’s easy to think that just scrolling through our social media feed is enough to provide us the social interaction we need. While social media does help us stay updated on current events and the ongoings of our loved one’s lives, the only way we can truly connect with people is when we actively engage with them. Don’t simply like their posts – try leaving comments on both the post and on other people’s comments instead!

5.    Be Kind To Yourself And Others During Social Isolation

Loneliness and the negativity it spawns can be very difficult to deal with, even in the best of times. It’s understandable that you will find yourself struggling, no matter what you do to avoid it. Instead, here are a few other things to keep in mind:

·         Be Accepting Of Yourself

Trying to deny negative emotions or insisting that you shouldn’t don’t have them doesn’t help matters. In fact, they often make things worse. The best way to handle them is to acknowledge them instead. Don’t linger or cling on to them – let them come and go – feelings, after all, will change over time. If you find yourself struggling to do this, learning how to meditate may help.

·         Practice Kindness

It may be harder to do now with the pandemic, but performing random acts of kindness is still possible. Offer to buy groceries for your elderly or disabled relatives, neighbors, and friends. Check-in on your loved ones and ask about what they need. Donate and support local businesses and restaurants wherever you can. Doing your best to volunteer and help others can be a great source of purpose and connection in times of loneliness.

·         Be Compassionate

It can be hard to do so, especially when you’re struggling mentally and emotionally. But as it turns out, being an active pillar of support and encouragement might counteract your own loneliness – and the struggles that stem from it. Text or call your loved ones, or reach out to others – friends and strangers alike. If you have the time and energy for it, try sending a letter too! It may help you, in turn, more than you realize.

Final Thoughts On Some Ways To Fight Loneliness During Social Isolation

Social isolation is unpleasant, but for the time being, it is thoroughly necessary. Sadly, that does mean you’ll have to cope with potential loneliness. Still, with positive thinking and by making use of these five ways to fight loneliness during social isolation, you’ll be able to emerge just fine on the other side.

As a final note, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family, or other loved ones if your loneliness is especially dire. You can do so through phone calls, texts, or any other method of distant communication during social isolation.


6 Ways To Beat Social Isolation Fatigue

6 Ways To Beat Social Isolation Fatigue

As the current world pandemic continues to unfold, many individuals have begun to feel a certain type of tiredness. This is known as “social isolation fatigue”. If you feel excessively exhausted at the end of each day while you’re socially isolated, you’re likely experiencing this too.

Why does this happen? There are countless different reasons. Nervousness and anxiety, stress from financial difficulties or strained relationships, and the toughness of dealing with unpredictable lack of control all contribute. Here are 6 ways to fight against social isolation fatigue.

1.    Understand And Fulfil Your Basic Needs, Then Your Wants

There’s no denying just how much social isolation has affected our normal lives and structure. In turn, we impact our mental, physical, and emotional health. In the process of trying to deal with how our lives have been upturned into a difficult mess, we can often forget to take care of ourselves.

·         Eat Healthily

Studies have shown, however, that creating a consistent routine has a strong positive effect on your health. Trying to ensure you have meals at set times can help combat time blindness while making sure we have the right nutrition we need to stay healthy and energized.

·         Stay Fit

When you’re forced to stay indoors, it can be easy to neglect one’s physical health. Considering just how intertwined our mental health is with our physical, keeping up a consistent exercise routine becomes incredibly important. Doubly so since it can help combat both fatigue and stress.

·         Learn Something New

It’s easy to forget that just like zoo animals, our brains also need to be entertained and to have enrichment. Read some books, listen to some podcasts, or try picking up a new hobby all together! This helps you keep your mind active and occupied, which may be just what you need in such a situation.

·         Reach Out For Help

Being alone can be draining, and it can make even the simplest tasks seem impossible. If you find yourself struggling in any way, ask a loved one or a neighbor for support and guidance. Don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or a hotline for advice, either – they’re there to help you.

2.    Don’t Watch News 24/7

It’s hard to keep up any sense of positive thinking when we are constantly buffeted by bad news every time we turn on our devices. It’s even worse when said news is available essentially 24/7! Here are a few ways to combat such negative effects:

·         Curate Your Feed

Choose one or two news sources you can rely on or trust, and only read headlines that are of immediate relevancy or interest to you – and no further.

·         Don’t Linger

Set a hard cap on how much time you’ll dedicate to reading or watching the news. Updating yourself twice a day and setting aside an hour for each update should be more than enough to catch up on what is happening in your community and the world at large.

·         Have A Second Filter

If you find yourself still struggling to remain unaffected, consider having a friend decide what’s important and relevant for you, and get your updates only through them. This can help ensure that you’ll only find out what you strictly need to know.

3.    Stay Socially Connected

No man is an island – and they really shouldn’t be. Humans are hardwired by evolution to be social creatures. As a result, isolating ourselves from any form of social contact can be detrimental to our mental health, and is something you’d generally want to avoid. Here are a few tips and tricks on staying in touch with the ones you love:

·         Determine Your Most Crucial Connections

There are some folks we can confidently say that we cannot live without, and it would not be an exaggeration. Considering how hard it can be to keep up social connections (especially when we start getting exhausted), it’s best to identify a specific list of people you want to keep in your life no matter what. Your counselor and therapist can be on the list, but you ideally want to avoid visiting them physically to keep everyone safe.

·         Go For Video Calls Over Voice Calls Or Texts

As it turns out, studies have shown that maintaining face-to-face social contact, even virtually, has a significant positive impact on people. Being able to see the facial expressions of our loved ones in a conversation can be more energizing and infectious than just hearing them by voice alone, after all!

·         Try And Stay Up-To-Date On Communication Tech

With just how reliant we are on communicative technology to stay connected now, there’s no excuse to refuse to learn how to use platforms like FaceTime or Zoom. Learn how to set up a stream to share your baking sessions, or figure out a way to have everyone watch a movie together!

4.    Keep Your Mind Busy

Our brains naturally crave stimulation. Without stimulation, we tend to ruminate on the negatives – which can make positive thinking difficult. So for the sake of your mental and emotional health, it’s best to keep yourself occupied with activities. Here are a few suggestions:

·         Sing Along To Music You’re Listening To

Ever noticed just how much better you feel when you’re singing along with friends or to a song on the radio? As it turns out, there’s a reason for that. Studies have shown that singing with other people, both live and recorded, is actually highly therapeutic! So consider trying to put together a virtual karaoke session, or scream your lungs out with your favorite song – it may be just what you need.

·         Find Something That Absorbs Your Mind

It’s easy to find some sort of mindless activity to do – but if it doesn’t occupy our minds, then it often isn’t capable of keeping negative thoughts at bay. Instead, studies show you’ll have to find a task that puts you in a state of flow to truly fill up space and silence – for example, playing games or learning how to knit. Then only does it act as a proper buffer against social isolation fatigue.

·         Let Fiction Take You On Adventures

Do you enjoy binge-watching your favorite shows? Do you get overly invested in fictional characters and the worlds they inhabit? As it turns out, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Studies have shown that these fictional worlds and characters can act as social surrogates – and, by extension, make us feel like we belong somewhere. And what better time to catch up on all the shows and podcasts you’ve been missing out on than right now?

5.    Practice Healthy Habits

At the end of the day, we must keep ourselves healthy – both in body and in mind. By extension, this can help us manage our emotional distress. Plus, we face the exhaustion that comes with it, especially since our emotional, physical, and mental health are all so strongly intertwined. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions you can try:

·         Take An Online Exercise Class

There is plenty of research that shows just how important exercise is for our body and mind. As it turns out, there’s another additional benefit you can obtain if you get said exercise via fitness classes – social support and structure.  Studies have shown that even if the classes are virtually conducted or live-streamed, they can still provide a sense of community that you need.

·         Do Some Meditation

Taking a moment to simply calm your mind and accept your thoughts can be incredibly helpful – especially if it’s focused on being kind and loving. As it turns out, research has shown that learning and practicing self-acceptance via meditation can also help combat social isolation fatigue.

·         Go Out In Nature

After staying cooped up in your house so long, it is inevitable that you will develop some kind of cabin fever. As you can imagine, this is not great for our sense of isolation. The best way to combat this is to go out for a walk – a fact that is backed up by research, which suggests it can help us with our perspective and mental health!

6.    Set Goals With Rewards

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless when you’re isolated and alone – especially when it seems like nothing matters anymore. Letting such a situation flood your mind and senses completely, however, doesn’t help matters – and in fact, can easily send your mental health into a spiral.

Instead, research has shown that the best way to tackle it is to give yourself manageable goals. Here are a few pointers on how to do it:

·         Be Kind To Yourself

It can be a struggle to just carry out day-to-day tasks. Even though it’s easy to beat yourself up over being unable to do them, there’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself for doing the little things – especially if they’re all tasks you’ve been struggling to execute recently.

·         Identify What Is Immediately Accomplishable

Take some time to figure out what is immediately within your control. It can be as simple as cleaning out your closet, organizing your photo album, or learning a new recipe! This can help give you a temporary sense of purpose and accomplishment that is easy to achieve – which can be crucial for your mental health.

·         Give Yourself Short-Term Rewards

With just how many unknowns there are presently in the world, it can be incredibly reassuring to know that performing certain tasks or completing them will guarantee you some kind of reward or outcome. In a way, it helps one regain a sense of control over our environment and ourselves. Ant that can help combat learned helplessness.

Final Thoughts On Some Ways To Fight Against Social Isolation Fatigue

Social isolation fatigue can be damaging when not managed or handled correctly, potentially resulting in long-term depression, anxiety, or even trauma responses. When you think about it, it’s easy to understand why. People are struggling to get through their everyday lives alone and in new ways with all the additional stressors of a pandemic and being separated from the world.

But you don’t have to be powerless against social isolation fatigue. By using the 6 methods we’ve discussed, you’ll be able to help your mind and body adjust to the changes around you. It’s no substitute for the way things once were, but it will certainly help a lot.