The Perils of Being Alone
During the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak, when it was necessary to keep our distance from one another, many of us were left feeling lonely and isolated. It is now challenging to go outside, get dressed, or hang out with others without apprehension or anxiety. We have become paralyzed, desiring to stay in the safety of our own space. But yet, we miss the ease of our life before the pandemic, eager to go out, eager to be connected, feeling a sense of community with others. We worry if we will ever feel that way again.
What is Social Isolation?
Social isolation is a multidimensional concept that can be characterized as the inadequate quantity and/or quality of connections with other people, including interactions at the individual, group, and/or community level. The pandemic has exposed younger adults to a comparable experience to that which is prevalent among the elderly. Without community and a sense of belonging, many of us are left alone..
What are the Consequences of Loneliness?
Isolation from others is linked to negative psychological outcomes. Increased social isolation is connected with lower levels of life satisfaction, depression, and psychological well-being.
How do you stay connected?
According to research, a correlation exists between belonging and connection and life satisfaction. We experience a greater degree of contentment with our lives when we are able to have a stronger sense of connection and belonging.
However, it is extremely difficult to rebuild communities and maintain connections. It is essential to begin on a small scale; otherwise, you will become overwhelmed and begin to shut down. Do something daily for five minutes. Text one friend and ask how they are doing. Walk around your neighborhood. Consider volunteering at an animal shelter or adopting a pet as you gradually increase your resources.
Tips for Maintaining Contact:
Get moving! Exercise reduces stress, improves mood, and enhances energy.
Volunteer. You will feel happier when you assist others.
Keep in touch with family, friends, and neighbors in person, on the Online, and by phone.
Think about adopting a pet. Animals can provide comfort and may reduce stress and blood pressure.
Clair, R., Gordon, M., Kroon, M. et al. The effects of social isolation on well-being and life satisfaction during pandemic. Humanit Soc Sci Commun 8, 28 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-021-00710-3
Cacioppo JT, Cacioppo S (2014) Social relationships and health: the toxic effects of perceived social isolation. Soc Personal Psychol Compass 8(2):58–72.
Nicholson N (2012) A review of social isolation: an important but underassessed condition in older adults. J Prim Prev 33(2–3):137–152. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10935-012-0271-2
Recognizing when you need therapy
Choosing to improve your life is not simple. Often, we must explore what is happening below the surface to understand why we feel alienated and alone. This process can be easily facilitated in a therapeutic setting. In therapy, we will examine your feelings of inadequacy and rejection to determine what is preventing you from reaching out to others.
Fill out the contact form on this page to schedule a free 20-minute consultation if you'd like to discuss how therapy could help you navigate loneliness and depression.
Sarah Rafik Botrus, LMFT
I help filmmakers and creative professionals work through issues depression and numbness in order to create a well-intentioned life.