10 Ways to Combat Loneliness and Isolation

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As we come out of the pandemic and resume a more interactive life, there is a lot to think about when it comes to our mental health. So many people experienced  fear, uncertainty, anxiety, sorrow and loneliness.

Loneliness is a real problems for so many people. We were not used to the isolation and loneliness we felt. And loneliness is linked to everything from heart disease and stroke to depression, anxiety, abuse and suicide. So it is not a state you want to be in for any length of time.

Loneliness is a feeling of being cut off from others. It is a state of mind. When alone, the world can become a threatening place. We are not wired for this type of isolation. So it is important to re-engage in our social networks again.

In order to fight loneliness, get socially active. Make efforts to connect to others. During the pandemic, social media helped us all stay connected, but it’s time for those face-to-face contacts again.

Here are 10 ways to stop loneliness:

  1. Share something positive or good that has happened to you. It can be a small thing. But the sharing of present moments of you life makes you feel connected to others. It starts a dialogue.
  2. Put down your phone and connect with your eyes. Our masks are gone. We can see each others’ faces again. Look others in the eye and make that personal connection.
  3. This one is obvious. Do more activities with others. This will boost your mood. So yes, it’s time to get social again. Some ideas are to have a game night, play a team sport, take up a new hobby with others.
  4. Bring back small talk. When you go to the store or sit at a park, talk to a stranger. Studies tell us that small talk with strangers can boost our mood and make us feel more connected.
  5. If you are not ready to decrease your time on-line, think of ways to be more interactive online. Play interactive games, chat with a friend, etc. The goal is active connection, not passive reading.
  6. Give back. Now that we can engage again, volunteer work always makes a person feel better. It’s stops the self-focus and shifts your attention to others. This really boosts mood and combats isolation.
  7. Focus on moving forward, not what was lost during the pandemic. We may have to grieve losses, but we need to heal and be positive about the future. Ruminating on the negative is not helpful. Look at the beautiful sky at night, hug your kids, appreciate the awe and beauty of our world despite the problems.
  8. Create experiences with others. Recently, a friend invited me to a lavender festival. I don’t know that I would have attended that on my own, but it was fun to walk around and just enjoy something different with friends. These types of experiences fight loneliness.
  9. During the pandemic, you may have contacted people you hadn’t seen or talked to in awhile. Keep up with new contacts. Call, Skype, meet for coffee…continue to make an effort to sustain those contacts.
  10. Stay spiritually connected. One way to combat loneliness is to engage in spiritual disciplines and practices with others. Connect through your faith. Pray with others. Do a Bible study with a group. Attend church services again.

It’s been a year and half of social isolation. It’s time to re-engage and boost those relationships. Social connection is one of the best prescriptions for stress and anxiety. Let’s all agree to leave loneliness behind! Time to get social again!

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