These are difficult times for all of us. We may not be in the same boat, but we are all in the same storm. Trying to keep the pandemic from consuming us has become a full-time job, and we are being asked to socially distance as much as possible. Humans are social creatures by nature and we need interactions with each other in order to thrive. How can we practice social distancing without falling into social isolation?
Even before the pandemic hit, Americans were lonely.
Loneliness is often described as an epidemic of its own, and around half of American adults say they feel lonely all or some of the time. Loneliness is a problem across generations, and studies show that the younger generations are even more susceptible to loneliness than their elders.
Social distancing has exacerbated this problem as even in the best of circumstances remote workers report feeling lonely. Now everyone is sheltering in place at home, working from home or not, the feelings of loneliness are going to continue to grow.
Some 53% of remote workers report feelings of isolation as opposed to 47% of in-person workers, but now most workers don’t even have a choice.
63% of remote workers report they lack in-office friendships as opposed to 46% of in-person workers who say the same.
Unfortunately, the most important thing for our survival right now is maintaining extreme social distancing measures to stop the spread.
This doesn’t mean you have to feel alone, however. Relationships require work even in the best circumstances, and it has never been more important than now to work on those relationships.
You can still get exercise while social distancing. Take your dog for a walk or go for a hike someplace that isn’t crowded. It’s even ok to say hi to your neighbors as you see them in your neighborhood as long as you do so from a safe distance.
You can still call people while social distancing. Sure, it’s not the same as being with them in person, but it’s really important to maintain human connections however you can right now.
Have a get-together on Zoom with friends and/or colleagues to keep connected. Lots of people are doing virtual happy hours to break up the monotony of working from home while homeschooling kids.
Learn more about the importance of not feeling socially isolated during social distancing from the infographic below.