According to the Cambridge dictionary isolation is a term which means ‘the condition of being alone, especially when it makes you unhappy’ with definition two meaning ‘the fact that something is separate and not connected to other things’. Unfortunately since the pandemic started early 2020, people are fully aware of what this definition truly means. This pandemic has created so much loss, loss of family members, friends, jobs, lifestyles and freedom. Life as we know it has changed dramatically and isolation can exacerbate mental health issues.
Human connection is vital to a balanced mental health and well-being. Social connections create many benefits which include mental support, an emotional outlet, fun and sense of being a part of something. During self-isolation periods and restrictions it has made it harder to maintain those social connections in the ways we once did such as go for lunch with friends, drinking on nights out, going to see a film, even going to the gym with a friend. Social isolation and loneliness are thought to be as harmful to your health as obesity is.
Chicago social neuroscientist John Cacioppo said, “For a social species, to be on the edge of the social perimeter is to be in a dangerous position.”. Not only does isolation change the stress hormone cortisol, it also interacts with the levels of dopamine that control impulse behaviour too. Studies of loneliness have shown that people suffering with loneliness at 45% more like to die at an earlier age than expected.
Thankfully technology has come a long way since our last national emergency and there are more ways than ever to communicate with loved ones than ever before through Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, support groups and social media pages. What the government are really asking of us all through the pandemic is not social distancing but physical distancing and that may mean more effort is required to socialise but it doesn’t mean you can’t pick up the phone and make that call, video call or send that text.
Here are some useful links to help anyone out in the pandemic that needs extra help or information and are unable to get help from their family or friends at this time;
Information on how to send a text message on an android and an Apple phone- https://www.wikihow.life/Text
Information on how to use FaceTime to video call from Apple to Apple product- https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204380#:~:text=There%20are%20a%20few%20ways%20to%20make%20a,from%20your%20iPhone%20during%20a%20phone%20call.%20
Information on how to use Zoom for the very first time-
NHS volunteers can help with things like- collecting shopping, collecting medicines and prescriptions. Call 08081963646 (8am-8pm everyday).
If you feel like you are struggling to cope with loneliness and isolation and would like one-to-one counselling sessions call us at Therapeutic Counselling on 01209 718246.