Many of you have been staying at home much more and sheltering in place. Which means that you haven’t been seeing people. This has taken a crippling toll on many of you and you feel alone. With the Covid Vaccinations starting, things should start to open up. Many of us have been fighting our depression and feeling alone much more than we did before Covid. How are we going to change that? Many people thought that with social media and technology we would feel more connected but we haven’t. Connecting through video chats and Facebook has left us feeling more lonely rather than less. These are counterfeit connections that do not completely fulfill the needs we have. Now because of Covid we need each other more than ever. Before Covid loneliness was spiraling into an epidemic (2018 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found 22% of Americans say they feel constantly alone) this has lead to an increase in suicide and other health problems. Our society needs to get a hold on the epidemic of loneliness and yet no one is working on a vaccination or cure.
So loneliness has many causes and health risks and can be very unique to an individual, but what can we do if we are suffering from it. First off, If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
Ways you can combat loneliness and to feel more connected. First off, name it, call it what it is, validate your feelings. Then look at the connections you have and how those relationships appear in your life. Look at ways you might deepen those relationships and reconnect with loved ones. In my life I was feeling some effects of loneliness and so I set up having lunch with one of my boys every other week. This has been a blessing in my life as well as the lives of my boys. Then make sure you have 3 to 4 close friends. People are very integral to warding off the negative effects of loneliness. It is not about the Quantity of social interactions but the quality of them. For most times and people internet, chats and social media are low quality interactions. These often do not fill the needs you have to prevent loneliness. If you are feeling the effects of loneliness they can be overcome.
Some of the things that can help:
Tell yourself a different story expecting the best of social interaction
Focus on developing quality relationships
Recognize the signs of loneliness
Understand the effects in your life
Learn or create something new
Engage in a hobby or club
Put your hand over your heart or get a massage. Lack of physical touch is connected to loneliness.
Adopt a pet
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