19 Apr Surviving Isolation While Not Feeling Alone
There are so many posts on social media and in the mainstream media regarding the isolation of people while we are told to “Stay Home” during the Covid 19 crisis. All of us are being asked to limit our contact with loved ones and to place physical distance between ourselves.
In Canada, we live in a culture which values physical touch as a sign of love and affection, as such, being asked not to hug or come near is placing an unknown toll on many. But perhaps this crisis has brought something to the forefront that is long overdue – awareness and gratitude for those we love. We are now stopping our busy lives and connecting with elderly parents and grandparents on a daily basis. We are thinking of those who are homeless and that they can’t “Stay Home” as they have no place to call home. We are taking time to have family dinners and sit together as there are no reasons not to be present during meal times. And we are valuing the often forgotten essentially services workers – not just the healthcare workers, but the often overlooked and undervalued providers of goods namely truck drivers, restaurant and grocery workers.
While comparison between ourselves and others who have been in worse situations historically may not bring a great deal of comfort, it should affirm that greater things have been asked of humankind than just to stay home. Bringing some perspective to our present situation is key in balancing the negative thoughts that seem to invade our consciousness. A key to maintaining mental health and wellness is to recognize and acknowledge the catastrophic thinking that we are prone to give into, and force yourself to think of positive aspects of your life. An example is – we may not be able to celebrate our mother’s this coming Mother’s Day, but we can celebrate them for many future days because they were spared from illness and they are healthy and well. Recognize the struggle and allow yourself to feel the isolation. Then take some time to examine what was present in your life before the crisis that kept you from feeling isolated and alone. Then turn to those who feel isolated all the time as that is a crisis we need to attend to when all of this is over.