Beating back loneliness in coronavirus isolation

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Health Assured team

09 April 2020

Many of us—most, in fact—have seen a drastic, sudden shift in our working patternsFurloughing, working from home or even—at worst—redundancies have changed the way thousands of people live their lives. 

We’re not all equipped for long periods of isolation like this. Even the introverts among us will be beginning to feel the pinch. But there are a few things we can all do to keep our minds occupied, and combat loneliness while this coronavirus lockdown is in effect. 

Keep in touch 

Make sure that you make the effort to stay in touch with friends, family and neighbours. The best way to do this—in the age of social distancing—is via technology.  

  • Call your friends, colleagues and relatives regularly on the phone and see how they are 
  • Create WhatsApp groups with neighbours, family or friends. Share how you’re getting on and ask other people how they are 
  •  Use Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date and keep in touch 
  • Offer to help with shopping or running errands. You could use an app like Nextdoor to see if your neighbours need assistance. If you’re worried about transmitting the virus you can leave the bags on the doorstep 

Bear in mind that for older people, the phone is likely the easiest and most accessible way to stay in touch. Newer technology can be intimidating for older people—offer support, and help to install apps.  

Stay positive 

Not as easy as just saying it—staying positive is one of the most important parts of staving off loneliness.  

Again, staying in touch is a great way to remain positive. Social distancing doesn’t mean no social contact. Schedule regular calls and talks with the people you care about, even if you don’t have a lot to say. The idea is to let you know that there are people out there, and they’re in the same boat as you. And scheduling these in advance, and regularly, gives you something to look forward to, which is just as important. 

Reach out to community support groups—you can find these easily online.  

Stay active 

Even if it’s just pacing around your flat, or pottering around in the garden, keeping moving will keep your brain active and happy. You’re allowed, at time of writing, to leave your home for exercise—take advantage of this, and go outside. Feel the sun on your face, see the other people walking around (at a safe distance!), and explore the quiet world around you.  

There are plenty of online resources to help you stay fit during this lockdown, too—there has been a veritable explosion in videos showing you how to warm up, stretch, work out and cool down in an hour. Or find a yoga tutorial, and get yourself limber. Lots of gyms have shifted to an online method of working with exercise classes broadcast live—often for free. 

Stay informed 

People who are up to date and know what’s happening are better equipped to deal with this time alone. Stay away from sensationalist news sources and social media—bad information is worse than no information—but make sure to regularly check official government sources, and the Health Assured FAQ. 

Start something new 

You might find you suddenly have a lot more time on your hands than you had expected, with no way to fill it. Luckily, there are countless ways to find new and exciting things to learn and do, in the comfort of your own home.  

For example, Duolingo is a free to download app that teaches you languages in a natural way, in as little as ten minutes a day (it even has Latin courses!)  

The budding artists among you will find Drawspace an amazing resource, with free and paid lessons for people of every skill level. 

And Codeacademy will get you up to speed with web development, data science or programming as quickly as you can put the effort in. 

 

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