Prevent Social Isolation from Making Loneliness Worse
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- Category: Psychology
Faced with the necessity of social distancing as COVID-19 continues to spread, Americans can take some simple steps to ameliorate their loneliness and others’, Murthy says.
- First, spend at least 15 minutes each day talking with or writing to a loved one. “15 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but when done consistently that small amount of time can make a big difference in how connected we feel,” Murthy says.
- Second, dial down distractions and give undivided attention to people. Refreshing your social media feed or scrolling through emails is obvious to the person you’re speaking with. “The cost to our relationships is significant. It impacts the quality of the interaction, and ultimately the quality of the relationship,” he says.
- Third, find ways to serve others. “We can call a neighbor …and check on them to make sure they’re doing okay. We can drop food off to somebody,” Murthy says. “We can write to people to let them know … that we know, that they’re going through a tough time and that we’re thinking of them. These are small but powerful ways in which we can seek to serve others.”
Actions like these can be especially valuable for the more than 35 million Americans who live alone. Family, friends, and coworkers should make a special effort to stay connected with them. Another group who need help in the COVID-19 era: The quarantined (people believed to have been exposed to someone infected) and isolated (people who have been infected and need to be prevented from infecting others).
BY BRIAN W. SIMPSON | APRIL 3, 2020