Ten things you can do to reduce isolation feelings
As more families hunker down at home to slow the spread of Covid-19 and hopefully flatten the curve, emotions of all kinds are on the rise. From anxiety to missing your usual social routine, it’s easy to find yourself feeling isolated. Here are simple things you can do to reduce and amplify sense of connectedness.
Post heartwarming memories
There is no better time for a #TBT post even if it isn’t a Thursday. Get old photo albums of your own childhood, family celebrations, vacations, friends and your children (if any), among others, and post on social media with memories.
You can also ask others for theirs. This will keep the connections blooming and make deeper bonds.
Open up on time organisation
You can use social media to get real about what’s going on in your life and how you’re making the most of this time, or to engage with others about how they’re making the most of theirs.
This will make other people think about what they are doing with their time and what they can be doing with their time.
Cook virtually with loved ones
If you’re missing time spent with a dear friend or loved one, consider getting a recipe then do it together at the same time, albeit virtually.
You can do it as a friendly competition to cook up the best meal or prepare the best drink. This can also help to teach others some new cooking tips.
Stay in contact
Meeting up with friends might not be possible right now, but you can stay in touch with everyone via technology.
Download apps and chat, share updates and pictures to keep your spirits up when things are tough.
You can also set up group video chats on Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts, so you can pretend you are catching up in the pub, even when you’re at home.
Make a list of people to reach out to, both in your inner and outer circle, even if you haven’t talked to them in months. Set aside time, so that you commit to making these check-ins a priority.
Do home-based activities
If you don’t have access to a phone or the Internet, distraction techniques can also help reduce isolation and loneliness.
With many of us stuck at home, now is the time to get on with the things we haven’t had time to do before.
Have a brainstorming session and plan a lot of activities you can do from home.
Consider goals you want to achieve, so you can use this time productively such as learning a new skill, reading about a new topic or learning a new language.
Set yourself challenges too, such as reading something new or baking something you’ve not made before.
The sense of achievement helps to boost your mental well-being, as well as passing the time.
Look after yourself
Keeping physically healthy can help boost mood and ease loneliness too. So, it’s important to eat as well as you can and get some exercise.
Even if you can’t get outside, there are plenty of online exercise videos to follow indoors.
Try mindful activities, relaxation, breathwork, gardening, yoga, listening to podcasts or music, watching films, games and drawing. Such activities help calm the worrying thoughts.
Put on a show
Who says every cloud meeting has to be devoted to a straight-up catch-up? You can use these video chat applications such as Zoom and FaceTime to entertain your friends and loved ones.
Go for video dates
Video conferencing isn’t the same as gathering in your living room or your favourite wine bar with friends, but it’s still a way to foster the sense of community you’re craving.
Between Zoom, Skype, Facebook Live and Google Hangouts, there is no shortage of platforms.
You can even have virtual dinner or cocktail parties. One person can host, choose the topic, and share a recipe for the whole group to make.
You can as well connect and talk about and process how all of you are feeling in the uncertainty of all of this.
Research has shown that engaging in creative pursuits can help alleviate feelings of loneliness.
You can write in a journal, paint, take some pictures, play guitar or come up with a new recipe.
Also, you can look for creative ways of meeting friends physically even if you can’t be close such as car meetings, among others.
Interact with your neighbuorhood people
Get outside for fresh air and movement as much as possible. When you go outside, you’re likely to see other humans from a distance, and this is a great reminder that you’re not alone in the world.
When you see others, be sure to give them a smile or a wave. This is the time we need to acknowledge one another and show more kindness than ever before.