How to Cope With Loneliness During the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Arlin Cuncic

Original article from verwellmind.com

Key Takeaways

  • Research links social isolation and loneliness to poor mental and physical health.
  • Using non-traditional ways to stay in touch with other people is the most important thing you can do to combat loneliness.
  • There are many creative ways to deal with loneliness and add variety to your everyday routine.

Are you unsure how to cope with loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic? You could be self-isolating because you’ve caught the infection, but there are many other reasons why you’ve elected to stay indoors.

Whether you are quarantined due to suspected exposure, staying home because you are in a high-risk category, or at home to help prevent the spread of infection, you may find yourself unprepared for the feelings of loneliness that will likely follow.

While those with chronic illness may already be familiar with what it’s like to face long periods of time alone at home, most of us are used to getting out daily; even those who are retired or don’t work usually make trips to run errands or visit friends. To have all of that stop suddenly is jarring, to say the least.

Stay Updated: A Detailed Timeline of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Cases According to the CDC, WHO

Loneliness and Social Isolation

A 2017 systematic review of 40 studies from 1950 to 2016 published in the journal Public Health found a significant association between social isolation and loneliness and poorer mental health outcomes as well as all-cause mortality.1

For this reason, it’s important to take care of your mental health during times of decreased social interactions.

It’s normal to feel stress when faced with staying indoors and interacting less with people, especially when that is added to the underlying stress of worrying whether you will catch the virus. These factors could increase your chances of developing a mental health issue, like anxiety or depression.A Verywell Report: Americans Find Strength in Online Therapy

While social distancing refers to avoiding large gatherings of people, staying a certain distance from others in public, and only going out of the house for essentials, it can still start to feel a lot like “cabin fever.” You might also feel stigmatized if you are isolated because you’ve contracted the virus or you suspect you may have contracted the virus.

What’s the best way to get through this period of isolation? There are many strategies that you can employ to ensure your well-being and good mental health. Most of these involve either finding ways to distract yourself (keep busy) or finding ways to connect with others (despite the circumstances).

Distraction works to help you avoid ruminating about everything that is wrong, which is a risk factor for becoming depressed. In this way, taking on little projects or finding other forms of distraction can help to keep your mood level.

In contrast, staying social in non-traditional ways can help you to feel less isolated and combat loneliness.

If you are unable to go places or interact socially with many people at this time, you might be wondering what you can do. Below are some ideas on how to manage your feelings of loneliness during these times.

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