The Silent Pandemic: Loneliness and Social Isolation

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Pandemic made us all stay at home much more than usual. For several individuals, staying in place has been a way of life before the pandemic. There are about 60% of Americans have felt their social relationships are not meaningful and they feel lonely.  

According to the World Health Organization, social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The problem gets worse as an individual gets older. 

Effects Of Social Isolation and Loneliness:

  • Significantly increases the risk of a person in premature death from all causes. The risks include smoking, lack of physical activity, and obesity. 
  • May increase the risk of dementia by about 50%
  • It is along with higher rates of suicide, anxiety, and depression
  • Being lonely with heart failure has an increased risk of death, hospitalization, and emergency department visits

Tips To Help With Social Isolation And Loneliness       

1. Take time to talk to friends, family, and other relatives via phone, virtual platform, or social media.

2. Sustain a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep or rest, and exercise.

3. Establish a new hobby that you always wanted to try.

4. Practice mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation.

5. Get fresh air, sunlight, and nature as much as you can.

6. Unplug social media if it makes you feel anxious or anxious.

7. Remind yourself that you are not alone at this time especially if you feel lonely or socially isolated.

8. Take part in virtual support or in-person support.

9. Let your friends and family know how you are feeling.  

If you feel that you suffer from chronic loneliness, talk with your mental health professional. They might need to refer you to a mental health expert to see if an individual or group therapist is right for you. Just like a medical condition, it will only get worse if left untreated. If you know someone experiencing this kind of situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to them and offer some help. 

If you are willing to help but have no idea how you can manage your mental health at the same time. Here’s what you can do:

  • Stick to a routine each day, get up, and get dressed.
  • Make up your bed and clean your house especially your room.
  • Do stretches and exercises.
  • If you take medication, make sure you are taking them and make arrangements with your healthcare provider.
  • Eat healthy meals and try to have lots of vegetables and fruit each day.
  • Clean up your workspace for focused sessions of work if you are working remotely.
  • Practice meditation and deep breathing.
  • Decrease your intake of caffeine as it will increase your anxiety levels.
  • Do online calls and video calls with family and friends.
  • Be sure to switch off from social media intermittently during the day. 
  • If you cannot handle anymore your situation, seek an online therapist or counselor.
  • Read and share positive news and posts.
  • If you have kids or your other relatives have their children, you can play with them.