Surviving the Isolation of the Pandemic
It’s now late July, and we are still thinking about the COVID-19 pandemic – something we started back in late February.
COVID-19 has changed life for all of us. There is, of course, the challenge of trying not to get sick. That means keeping your distance from others, and that’s something none of us can do easily.
Isolation is not normal for any of us. Keeping your distance over the short term is hard enough. But now, with the number of positive cases increasing – especially in Florida – we’ve been at this for five months with no end in sight.
The result is you’re likely feeling lonely and stressed. That doesn’t mean anything is wrong. It just means you are experiencing normal human personality traits.
Most of us feel a need to be around other people. That’s natural. When that doesn’t happen there can be long-term health issues. Some studies show being socially connected can result in a 50 percent reduction in early death. Isolation can also lead to an increased risk of stroke or coronary artery disease.
It’s important to remember you can meet that need for togetherness and interaction with others even when you are practicing social distancing.
You may be getting tired of them, but ZOOM meetings, Facetime and other avenues for connection are available and, at least for now, are a good alternative to isolation.
However, it doesn’t have to be all ZOOM all the time. Try arranging some in-person social contact while practicing social distancing. Sitting outdoors at a restaurant or a walk in the park may be perfect example of how to do just that.
Think about the people you miss and want to see face to face. Work out a plan to do that while practicing social distancing. Doing that occasionally may make the online get togethers a little more tolerable.
It’s hard to know how long things will remain this way. Our “new normal” is likely to be with us for many more months, probably into 2021. We all have to do everything we can to maintain our mental health while we take the necessary precautions to protect our physical health.