Our last article dealt with using sleep as a coping strategy to combat anxiety during and after the pandemic. This article highlights a key stressor and ways to help you cope with that stressor during these trying times.

Staying indoors is possibly the best way to beat the Coronavirus pandemic. As individuals increasingly stay indoors, there is little to no social interaction that is taking place with other individuals. Although some of us are taking the time to chat up with friends and family using the internet or our mobile phones, it cannot fill the void of the dozens of people we see, meet and interact with every day.

How are uncertainty, anxiety, depression and isolation connected?

Uncertainty, anxiety, depression and isolation are a deadly combination. What makes matters worse is that one may lead to another. Uncertainty during these times can make you anxious. Heightened anxiety and the number of stressors around us fueling that anxiety can make us depressed as we see no way out. This can further lead to a feeling of being isolated from the world.

Where does loneliness fit into this scenario?

Isolation is a physical separation from other people or an environment that is familiar to you. Loneliness is a feeling of sadness that may make you feel disconnected from the world around you even if you are surrounded by people. A good example of loneliness would be the elderly in an old age home. Even with other co-habitants, those in old age homes can feel incredibly lonely.

Although loneliness may occur on its own, in many cases, such as the current pandemic, a combination of anxiety, depression and the isolation forced by the lockdown may lead to a feeling of loneliness.

How do isolation and loneliness affect us?

Both isolation and loneliness affect our mental health by draining us of positive vibes, making us listless, depressed and even paranoid. Loneliness may also spark a loss of appetite, sleep disorders and aches or pains.

How can I cope with loneliness? Is there a way out?

You can try to overcome both Isolation and loneliness with just one simple thing—communication. In short, communication is the key to overcome the feeling of loneliness brought about by isolation in this pandemic.

Communicate and stay in touch

There is nothing better than talking to your family members and loved ones in the times of crisis. Knowing that they are well will induce a feeling of normalcy and calm you down.

Talking to people makes you understand that you are not alone. Although social distancing and lockdowns have made going over to someone’s house impossible and can even expose you to the virus, you can still stay in touch. Here’s what you can do:

  • Talk or video chat with your family once a day (or more). Keep a fixed time if you have to and if other people in your family are working from home. Do not overdo it and keep a time limit of approximately 30 minutes for this activity.
  • Talk or video chat with friends, neighbours and co-workers if they are up to it.
  • If a particular group or individuals make you anxious, log off or stop interacting with them until you feel better.
  • Try to not discuss the coronavirus in every conversation you have. Stressors can aggravate anxiety. Talking about happier times and better things is good for everyone.
  • Do not over-interact with people. Understand and respect the fact that they may have more work than usual due to the lockdown and might need some time for themselves. If someone does not wish to talk to you, make an appointment to call later, or better – call someone else.
  • Find a new friend – use the power of social media to interact with people and who knows, you might get to spend time with someone who can help you kick loneliness out of our life!

The impact of technology and communication is evident in the fact that they can bring together estranged family members, friends and co-workers without having to break the barriers of social distancing. As we are holed up in our homes and apartments for extended periods of time, we feel the positive changes technology can make in our lives—adding happiness, reducing anxiety and loneliness, and making every place a happier place for all of us.

Our next article will deal with another coping strategy that can help you enhance positivity in your life in the quarantine by reducing the impact of stressors. Stay tuned!