Thriving in Social Isolation
Thriving in Social Isolation
Social isolation can lead to a variety of hardships for people of any age. As humans, we crave connection. Staying inside all day without interacting with others can cause depression, anxiety, and other negative feelings. These negative feelings in turn can aggravate one’s health problems. The foregoing means that it is difficult to stay positive and healthy during quarantine.
The answer to isolation and its attendant difficulties is to be engaged, which in short means connected with others, active, and productive. What follows are thoughts on why, and how, to do so:
Why Staying Engaged Is Important
The Centers for Disease Control have provided eye-opening statistics regarding the impacts of social isolation:
- Social isolation significantly increases a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
- Social isolation was associated with about a 50 percent increased risk of dementia.
- Poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) have been associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.
- Loneliness has been associated with significantly high rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
How To Thrive During Quarantine
If you want to thrive during quarantine and take the time to stay healthy and keep your mind sharp, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Participate in Zoom Meetings
Being a part of a group call and staying in touch with the people closest to you can do wonders for your mental health. Whether it’s in a recovery meeting or with a circle of your friends or family, take time out of your day to interact and see your friends and family through Zoom, Facetime or other conferencing platform. Seeing familiar faces and – when the opportunity arises – meeting new people can enhance your mood and improve your well-being.
Have Productive Conversations
Turn off your outside distractions for an hour a day and engage in a conversation with a roommate or your partner. A meaningful, distraction-free conversation provides cognitive benefits and helps you to feel less alone. Stimulating conversations are hard to beat when it comes to mental health and are great to take your mind off of negative things.
Learn a New Skill
With the extra time you have as a result of the pandemic, why not pick up that new skill or hobby you’ve been meaning to get around to learning? This is a great addition to your daily quarantine schedule and that helps to create a familiar routine that is mentally stimulating.
As we continue in a mode of self-isolation and social distancing, it is vital to be aware of the risks to your body and mind. Staying productive, eating well, working your recovery program and maintaining a virtual social life are key ways that you can take care of your- body, mind and spirit.