Previously, I wrote an article entitled: How to Combat Isolation During Coronavirus. I began that “I like to think that out of adversity, we can create positives—whether more family time, quiet time, going outdoors, being creative.”
By now we all know ways to be proactive in response to health concerns. COVID-19 vaccinations are being administered. Along with practicing good hygiene, we are still wearing masks and social distancing. Yet masks and social distancing tend to cause a disconnect with others. Perspectives are skewed. People are leery to touch or hug. Many people have lost a sense of self and purpose.
I have made suggestions of a variety of activities in which we can engage such as bread making, video conferencing, virtual museum tours, and watching world-wide travel shows. When we are alone, we can utilize sensory awareness—smell the roses, so to speak. We can include art, music, dance, new foods and fresh air.
Clark Moustakas, Ph.D., was a very passionate man who embraced solitude yet was also very giving. He was a psychologist, one of my professors and mentors, and authored many books. In Loneliness he wrote, “Loneliness is a condition of life, an experience of being human that enables people to sustain, extend and deepen their humanity.”
We can engage with others who are alone by visiting outdoors or bringing a baked treat. It is a time to truly reach out, and in doing so, enrich ourselves. Even though some areas of life are resuming, people are left with feelings of uncertainty, confusion, insecurity, depression, worries, fears, anger. Many people are tired of wearing masks and feeling restricted from doing various activities they enjoy. Life as we knew it has really changed. Will it resume?
As a psychologist, I have found that teletherapy can help to mitigate the gap of social isolation. I encourage my patients to embrace their solitude. I also inspire my patients to have “walk-n-talks”, invite neighbors to interact safely, continue connecting. It is a time to be creative in how we accomplish this and begin to learn that different can be okay—even good.