How to Fight Loneliness During Social Distancing

On Fridays, we talk about getting out and about on the blog for our sister supplement, Glucocil. However, with the coronavirus going around, many states are closing down public spaces. We wanted to share some ways to still feel connected to the world. And, we felt this was just as important for our BergaOne customers. This information is vital for our team as well. For the sake of our health, and yours, our team is working remotely, to ensure everyone stays healthy and our customer service and shipping departments can be there to help you.

National parks are closing their indoor areas — such as visitor centers. And it’s tempting, if you are healthy, to ignore the problem. For one thing, the hiking trails are pretty empty. But, following precautions is essential not just for you but for the people around you. Asymptomatic people can pass the virus along without knowing. “An individual who doesn’t get very sick might still pass the infection along to others, including parents, neighbors, people on the bus,” said Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at Johns Hopkins Univ.’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. “This is a condition that may not pose a threat to the individual but a threat to the community.”

But, it can feel so isolating to stay away from people and inside. Towns are closing public spaces, and people are being warned away from visiting relatives, especially if they are in nursing homes. Many locations have stopped visitors from entering nursing homes. For so many Americans, Sunday dinners enjoyed together are a cornerstone in their relationships. Being told to avoid your family, or being denied access to seeing them, can be devastating. Moreover, loneliness is a medical problem, as feeling isolated can increase your risk of early death.

Phone calls are our go-to solution because it allows us to catch up and hear each other’s voices. We also like family text groups and Facebook chats. If you want to see faces, Apple’s FaceTime is an excellent option. However, FaceTime only works on Apple products like iPhones, iPads and Macs. For families with a mix of devices, we prefer Google Duo. It’s free, and you can have eight phones video chatting at once. The app is easily downloaded and, if anyone has problems, a teenager in the family can help explain it over the phone or email!

And, while phoning your family is important, check in with your neighbors too. Knowing that the people physically near you are doing well can help boost your spirit. It is also comforting to exchange family phone contacts too. While needing someone’s emergency contact’s information is probably unnecessary, it can give you peace of mind. Religious communities are essential for many people’s wellbeing as well. Many institutions are moving to have services online. You don’t have to miss worship. Reach out to your house of worship to learn if they are streaming services or if they have a preferred one that they think is right for your congregation.

A counterintuitive way to stave off feeling lonely and anxious is to turn off the 24-hour news stations. Very little changes minute to minute, whereas watching it throughout the day amps up anxieties. It may make you feel connected temporarily, but it can heighten your worry. Instead, check-in once in the morning and once in the evening. You’ll find out all the relevant information without getting bogged down in it. If you are now working from home, another important step is following your schedule. Get dressed, have your coffee, take your usual breaks and turn off your work computer at the regular time. Keep your work/life divide the same as it usually would be to keep yourself in your normal, healthy groove.

Some great things you can do during this time of separation are to read a book, listen to a podcast or learn a new skill. Have you always wanted to knit something? Order yourself some yarn and knitting needles because this is your chance! Want to learn to draw well? Grab colored pencils and practice. There is a YouTube video for every skill you might want to learn. Have you meant to clear out the garage but just never found the time? You have the time now. There are many free audiobook services if you want something to listen to while you do the chores you have been putting off.

The thing to remember about this odd situation is, no matter how far apart we feel, we are all in this together. You are not alone in feeling alone! “By distancing yourself, you’re contributing to a societal act — a collective action — that is not only protecting yourself, but protecting others,” said Ashwin Vasan, president and CEO of Fountain House, a charity that works to reduce the impact of isolation on people with mental health problems. “And so if we can see some community in that, and see some connectedness in that, I hope that’s a motivating and aspirational way of looking at something that is inherently difficult.”

Breathe in, call your family and learn how to make an origami crane!
March 20, 2020

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