During the past year, so many individuals have felt isolated and extremely lonely due to the pandemic.
According to the National Academics of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, more than one-third aged 45 and older feel lonely.
According to the CDC, loneliness is associated with higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide. Many people experience a great deal of stress when they are feeling isolated and lonely.
Human contact is essential to a person’s health and wellbeing.
Although, we may be separated from our loved ones and friends this year, here are a few alternatives: hugging an exercise ball, stuffed animal, or pillow, and using a weighted blanket may be helpful.
You can also hug yourself or bring your knees up to your chest.
Taking out photos with family and friends, framing them, and placing them throughout your home can be a way of feeling connected to them.
Put yourself in a warm bath and listen to calming music, as long as you are physically able to do so.
You can also try lighting some candles or using battery operated candles.
If you have the capabilities, FaceTime or Skype family and friends. Join a book club or some sort of online group.
It is especially helpful for some to write letters to others or just journal for yourself.
Take time to make baked goods, and try shipping them to your loved ones if you are able to. This way, you can feel connected to them through food. Have a meal with your close ones over any kind of video device.
The most important thing to remember is you must allow yourself to feel what you need to feel by validating your feelings.
If this feeling continues to cause you a create deal of stress or depression, you may want to reach out to a counselor. If money is an issue, there are various places that will be able to help you, such as Jewish Family and Children Services, Family Christian Counseling Center of Phoenix, and Psychological Counseling Services.
Try finding new, safe experiences that will bring joy and passion to your life.
Some examples are trying new recipes, playing an instrument, creating an artistic project, cleaning out your closet, donating to charities, and writing a story about your life.
Try out volunteer work, this often helps a person feel better when they feel lonely. You can also find connection by mentoring someone on a topic you enjoy or a profession you were once in.
“Loneliness is only an opportunity to cut adrift and find yourself. In solitude you are least alone.” -Bruce Lee
Editor’s Note: Linda Levin is the directer of Wise Aging.