How to Manage Social Isolation

Photo by Kristina Tripkovic

Working from home, being housebound due to health conditions or self-isolation to meet deadlines can cause strain on our emotional wellbeing. Our lives get enriched through human interaction and the lack of it might go unnoticed only for that long.

One of the main issues with not changing the environment we are in is that we don’t realize how fast time passes. Losing track of time doing things that don’t benefit us is worse if we have no one around to look for advice or get support from.

Here are some tips to help you make the most out of the time that you need to spend on your on:

  • set the top two priorities for the day
  • create a plan of how to meet them
  • reward yourself with human interaction – plan a call or text/email someone
  • plan a short exercise routine
  • create a ‘feeling low kit’ with all the essentials and set a timer on how long you’re allowing yourself to feel low for

Even when we choose loneliness, it can be daunting. Reach out to people, check in on them and open up as much as you feel comfortable. The conversation around mental health has only just started and social isolation goes beyond the statistics.

And How Are You? Check on People Who Might Not Be Within Your Inner Circle

While this time of the year is a great excuse to appreciate who we’ve got in our lives, let’s take a look further at distant friends or acquaintances who might be going through a rough path.

Celebrations that force us to come closer together are also amplifying feelings of loneliness and loss. If you have someone in mind who you think would receive well some seasonal greetings from you, create a window for them in case the answer to – How are you celebrating? – comes empty handed.

More than time with family and friends, what we can get out of this season in the few days off is ultimately time. Be active, start on that workout DVD that’s gathering dust on the bookshelf, or an unsolved puzzle, a new book, a new skill you never thought you’d have time for.

Having a new ‘thing’ going on makes us more interesting humans. It gives us something to connect over with people with similar interests. This time of the year can be great to make radical changes in our lives. Give yourself the gift of doing something you absolutely enjoy. Something that you’ll be benefiting from on the long run ideally. A gift that outruns any holidays and will serve you well in years to come.

Let me know in the comments what you would or will choose to invest your time in these holidays.

Smartphone Dependency & Our Wellbeing Don’t Go Well Together

Even before having a Twitter account I engaged in debates over the effects that social media has on our behavior. Topics such as social isolation, bullying and harassment on one side and engagement, interaction, self-growth, networking on the other side were thrown around the table.

Did I ever wonder at that point about the role that technology plays and not just about the role of social media? Not at all.

A recent study led by researcher Matthew Lapierre from the University of Arizona looked at smartphone dependency and its connection to depression. The study revealed that it becomes problematic when people are using smartphones to replace or escape living their non-virtual existence.

Extreme reliance on our device, anxiety if we get separated from it for even a moment or two, are signs of later depression and loneliness. What can we do?

Exercise:

Live without your smartphone for 12 hours (sleeping doesn’t count).

  1. Let your loved ones know that you will be out of reach for 12 hours.
  2. Turn off the device or put it away, on silent.
  3. Live. Walk. Breath. Carry on with your day.
  4. Keep a journal of the experience.
  5. At the end of the 12 hours after feasting in the use of technology, read what you’ve wrote.
  6. How does that make you feel?

“If depression and loneliness lead to smartphone dependency, we could reduce dependency by adjusting people’s mental health, but if smartphone dependency (precedes depression and loneliness), which is what we found, we can reduce smartphone dependency to maintain or improve wellbeing.”

Communication Master’s Student Pengfei Zhao, Study Co-Authored

Resources:

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression? by Matthew Lapierre. Pengfei Zhao and Benjamin Custer