Too many of us feel isolated and lonely in this pandemic year. As you head into 2021, here’s some advice from Well on how to replace loneliness with connectivity.
How to fight pandemic loneliness
From Emily’s son
After months of bans and on-site orders, some experts worry about an increase in the number of people who feel alone, especially young people and older adults. But resilience is also widespread, and studying loneliness can reveal a variety of ways to combat it.
“In the face of the pandemic, there are ways we can increase that sense of connectedness or decrease that feeling of loneliness in ways that we can safely do remotely,” said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University. “Research has shown, among other things, that social support is incredibly helpful in stressful times.”
How to meet new people, even from a distance
From Julia Hotz
A retired teacher, a Midwestern minister, and a mother of two teenagers choose a zoom room. During the next 90 minutes they do something that they normally don’t have the opportunity to do in their typical adult life: listening to other people’s perspectives and making others listen to them. And after three rounds of answering not entirely normal questions like “What is your purpose in your life?” The group leaves the room and feels deeply connected.
At least the logic of “Living Room Conversations” – an online platform through which voluntary hosts help small groups of people to discuss current topics such as voting, gun rights and their vision for America. Living Room Conversations was founded in 2010 by two women on different sides of the political spectrum with the involvement of dialogue experts and has tried to show how people can have civil conversations across different borders. At one point these discussions, which were always open to participation, took place in actual living rooms. But when the coronavirus required a strict lockdown, the conversations only went online and also became a means to alleviate loneliness.
Take steps to counteract the loneliness of social distancing
By Jane E. Brody
When Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the former United States surgeon general, began researching his book “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World” two years ago, never knowing how relevant the topic would be now that it was there it should be published.
The coronavirus pandemic and the advice it has given rise to – stay home if possible, avoid meeting others, and avoid close contact even on the streets – has compounded the damage caused by factors that are already isolating people, and many of the others Antidotes to isolation challenged.
The double blow of seasonal affective disorders in a Covid season
By Jane E. Brody
Maintaining the zest for life is a challenge when there are limited opportunities to get in touch with people who can lift the mood or to attend cultural or sporting events that break up the monotony of pandemic days and nights.
But while the pandemic, with its myriad of economic, professional, educational, and social disruptions, may be challenging enough for people who are not normally blues-prone, the days of reduced daylight from November through March could be far more bleak than usual for millions of Americans suffer from seasonal depression annually.