Social Distancing Increases Social Isolation

When did social isolation become real?

Social distancing is taking it’s toll on everyone but for some it has become much more like social isolation. While those deemed “essential” have continued to work without ceasing, others have moved to work-at-home situations; some were furloughed or laid off. With restrictions eased, a few people have returned to work, with or without 6′ distance rules. If you drive past a park, you will likely see people enjoying the outdoors with family or friends. But if you are a senior citizen, over 60 or have certain medical conditions, you’re still advised to limit social interactions as much as possible. If this is you, social isolation takes on a new meaning.

Before Covid-19, grocery shopping, trips to the post office, and other outings were much more meaningful. Errands someone else sees as chores were opportunities to engage with other people. Now that those interactions are gone, consider ways to stay engaged and experience things in a significant way. So, next time you think about calling your children, your grandchildren, friends, why not make it a video call? Show them your smiling face even when they see it in person. Join an online bible study, yoga class, book club or other online event.

You may find online events posted at your church website, local senior center, or even online event sites like Eventful and Eventbrite. Many libraries have free online classes, ranging from learning a new language to accounting to starting a YouTube channel. Host a story-telling Zoom event for your grandkids or children’s church class. Or, put a bird feeder close to the window – enjoy the show and the singing. Call a cousin you haven’t spoken to in years. Join an ancestry website and learn more about your family.

If you are a family member of someone experiencing social isolation…

Take your video call out into your garden and show them your projects. Stream the video feed of your bike ride live to them so they can enjoy the scenery. Post a card in the mail to them saying you’re thinking of them.

If your loved one does not use a smart phone or computer, encourage them to share a favorite memory or share something about themselves that you may not know. Ask them to draw a picture of their favorite flower or sing you their favorite song. If you are picking up groceries or medications for them, pick up some flowers too.

You may be going about your life as usual again but not everyone has that option. Don’t let social distance become emotional distance. Find new ways to connect.  

Author: Lesa Inglis