Coping in Social Isolation
Today’s post is not a long one, but it’s something I feel is very important, especially in the moment.
Humans by nature are social creatures. Most of us thrive on making connections and meeting new people, having something in our week which allows us to see our closest friends and family. But when a pandemic hits, our lives must change so we can remain safe.
Suddenly your weekly gatherings for fun things like music, sports, or just having friends get together must come to an end, for fears of spreading disease. Even now at the time of writing, as someone living near Toronto, Canada in the later stages of the first wave of COVID-19, gatherings indoors are still required to be distanced. Most events are cancelled, and any clubs which met indoors are likely not workable under the current conditions. Even something as simple as going to the grocery store requires wearing a mask, because it’s indoors. It’s just not safe.
Friends can meet to socially distance, but most non-essential entertainment is closed. Finding a place to meet where everyone feels safe can be a challenge too, as many people try to find their own space outside. It can feel like you’re constantly dodging through crowds. Even neighbours, with whom you may never think twice to help out in a time of need outside of the pandemic, you must keep your distance for fears of catching a virus. Your property lines feel like barbed wire and electric fences, forcing you to stay away and keep to yourself.
Many people have also lost their jobs, either because their environments don’t allow them to work safely, or because there are simply not enough people interacting with the market to continue doing business. Companies trim down their employees to run on as few people as possible, and unemployment rockets to levels not seen since the Great Depression. Many open job posters have 400 applicants, and it can feel like you’re dumping your resume onto a tower, praying that the hiring managers will pick you out of a mountain of others.
All of this can make you feel as though you’re very alone, and I just want to say, I hear you, because some days I feel exactly the same way. Much of what I have listed above are things that I have gone through too, and in that way, I feel that is something these are things many of us can relate to. This description applies to a staggering number of people, and in a way, it’s a common thread that connects us all. In this, there might be hope.
Many people are reconnecting in these times. Neighbours talk across their lawns. Friends meet and distance from each other for similar conversations. Picnics can be arranged where everyone brings their own food and have a conversation at safe distances. Video calls are at an unprecedented high, and there are more people set up with some form of video conference software than ever before. People are finding ways to be social even in the pandemic. Just because we’re apart doesn’t mean we have to be alone.
I might encourage you to contact your close circle of friends and set up a time each week when you can have a catch-up video call. It doesn’t have to be long, maybe an hour, or it can go as long as people want to keep talking. If you are lucky enough to have a place you can meet away from others, it can be nice seeing your friends again face to face. You can also reach out to people and make new connections, as I have shown we all have at least some things in common in these trying times. Set up a video call, find out how they’re coping in the pandemic, and share your stories with them too. Perhaps make a schedule with them to talk again if the conversation flows easily.
The important thing I hope you remember is that although it feels like you’re alone, the world is still here. There are people waiting to meet you, and have the potential to be a good friend if you just say hello. They probably have similar experiences to you in the pandemic, and it can be very uplifting just to hear a friendly voice.
Isolation doesn’t have to be so isolated. Let’s make the pandemic social again.Follow: