Loneliness During Coronavirus

One of the feelings many of us are experiencing during the current coronavirus pandemic is loneliness. With the combined efforts to stay safe and save lives, our usual ways of seeing family, friends, or just familiar faces have been put on pause.

How Lonely Are Adults Feeling?

According to a survey done, one in four said they had feelings of loneliness.  In a matter of weeks, social distancing left millions of people feeling isolated. Young people are most likely to experience loneliness.

How Does Loneliness Affect Our Mental Health?

Many of us feel lonely from time to time and these short-term feelings shouldn’t harm our mental health. However, the longer the pandemic goes on, the more these feelings become long-term. Long-term loneliness is associated with an increased risk of certain mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and increased stress. The impact of long-term loneliness on mental health can be very hard to manage.

What Can We Do To Prevent Loneliness?

We are being told to stay at home and only go outside for food, health reasons, or essential work, to stay two meters away from other people, and to wash our hands regularly. That means we need to adapt to how we connect with people and find new ways to stay in touch during this time. Now more than ever is the time to keep those strong social networks that can act as a buffer against poor mental health.

Staying in touch through video calls, Whatsapp or just regular phone calls is vital. Keep up your routine where possible.

Helping Others Who Might Be Experiencing Loneliness

One idea is to get in touch with someone who lives alone or might not have any relatives or close connections to check in on them. A message or a phone call could make a big difference to someone who hasn’t heard from anyone in a while. If it is a neighbor, you could even share something you’ve baked (at a safe distance). If you know someone who struggles with technology, now could be a good time to talk to them by setting up something like Skype or Zoom at home. This could make a huge difference in their social interactions in the future.

It’s Not Just You

Remember, no one is exempt from feeling lonely at times. All of us at some point or other during this pandemic will feel cut off from our loved ones. Some of us will have greater access to technology than others or more social connections. Caring for each other, checking in on people who are more isolated, or even volunteering for a helpline, can prevent a loneliness epidemic.

What To Do If You Are Feeling Lonely

• Try calling a friend, family member, health professional, or counselor to talk about your feelings.
• Join an online group or class that focuses on something you enjoy – that could be anything from an online exercise class, book club, etc.
• Consider going for short walks in public places.

This is a challenging and sometimes lonely time, but it will pass. There will be lots of hugs, shared pots of tea, parties, and celebrations in the future. For now, let’s be as kind as possible to ourselves and others.