As the world navigates its way through this pandemic, we are all doing our best to adapt.
For the past year, we have all experienced a lack of physical connection due to gathering restrictions. This feeling is referred to as isolation, meaning separation from loved ones as a result of living remotely, living with limited access to supports, or living with an inability to nourish relationships.
Experiencing isolation due to COVID-19 is not something we could have predicted or prepared for. As a result, it is normal to feel frustrated over not being able to visit your loved ones or to grieve social gatherings. Mental health can diminish in isolation as many of our healthy coping mechanisms are not as accessible.
We each handle isolation in our own way but it is key to be aware of our needs and maintain mental health check-ins as a proactive measure.
Isolation isn’t always negative. Taking a break to recharge when you are feeling overwhelmed is an effective coping strategy. Additionally, introverted personalities may thrive in isolation and consider themselves most at peace while spending time alone. However, even introverts need to find a balance between solitude and social connections to build mental health.
Isolation and decreased mental health are closely linked. Some people may withdraw from support systems, which is result of decreased mental well-being. Prolonged isolation becomes detrimental when you have difficulty managing daily tasks or struggle connecting with others.
In order to reduce the negative impacts of isolation, staying connected through technology can often be beneficial. Although most of us find in-person connection best, phone and video calls can still improve your mood. Small acts of kindness also create positive impacts and do not require physical closeness.
Moving your body and getting outside when possible also helps to limit the negative impacts of isolation.
If you feel sad or anxious due to isolation take a moment to recognize those feelings and take small steps to improve connection and your mood through the tips mentioned above or by practising gratitude and mindfulness.
You are not alone. If you need someone to talk to, contact Envision Counselling and Support Centre to find out more about our rapid access programs like Walk-In Counselling and Bridging the Distance. These programs accommodate both in-person and telephone needs. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 9-1-1.