The current state of events can make you isolate yourself from your friends and family. Over prolonged periods, this sense of disconnection from the world and meaningful human contact has several adverse effects on people. Since visiting a psychotherapist near your area could be difficult or inadvisable, you need to learn more about the effects of isolation and discover healthy methods of coping with it.
This knowledge could help keep you from being consumed by negative thoughts and emotions, allowing you to emerge stronger from your isolation.
Effects of Isolation
According to expert studies on the matter, prolonged feelings of isolation can have immense negative effects on your health. In fact, even just perceived social isolation is associated with an increased risk of early mortality.
Being left alone isn’t the only way you could develop intense feelings of isolation. A different study discovered that being dissatisfied with several key factors in your life, such as your relationship with your family or your peers, can engender deep feelings of isolation.
Without a healthy way to cope with your feelings of isolation, such as meaningful human contact or getting assistance from a relational psychotherapist in your area, it can begin to erode your mental and physical well-being. The negative impact of isolation on your body includes the following:
- Increased decline of cognitive functions
- Inefficient immune systems
- Reduced cardiovascular function
- Sleeplessness or impaired sleep quality
Eventually, the combined negative effects lead to an increased risk of dying early. Although the best method of preventing isolation is to connect with other people, that may not be an option given the current climate.
Ways to Cope with Isolation
During an extended period of self-imposed or mandated isolation, you need to practice different methods of keeping yourself mentally healthy. Here are a few ways you can explore during such periods.
- Schedule your days
When you keep your mind busy and your body active, you’ll have fewer opportunities to sink into negative thought patterns. An important part of keeping yourself healthy is to schedule your days efficiently. Craft a schedule that combines the perfect amount of productivity with recreation, so you can end each day with a feeling of satisfaction.
- Foster genuine online connections
The digital age has allowed people from all over the world to comment on each other’s behavior and check in on one another. But most of these communications tend to be superficial. Instead of just leaving a comment on someone’s social media, choose to establish genuine connections with people you meet online.
Join websites related to your passions and reach out to people who share your hobbies and experiences. These commonalities will make it easier to form true relationships with online users. Continue these relationships even after your period of isolation.
- Revitalize connections
While you could spend your time online building new connections, why not use it to re-establish and renew friendships? Social media platforms are excellent methods of reconnecting with old friends you’ve lost touch with. Send them a message and initiate a conversation with them. Reminisce about old times and ask about their well-being.
Revitalizing these relationships will not only help you but also other people deal with the burdens of isolation. Regularly schedule talking with one another, so you have something to look forward to.
- Keep physically active
Don’t forget to tend to your physical health as well as your mental well-being. Keeping active and fit during your isolation has physiological and psychological benefits. It makes you less lethargic and helps your immune system get stronger.
Try doing simple calisthenics like jumping jacks, push-ups, and curl-ups to get you started. Establish new benchmarks you want to exceed each day, i.e., increasing the number of repetitions, working with heavier weights. Meeting and surpassing these goals will release endorphins in your body, giving you an immense feeling of satisfaction and lessening the negative impact of isolation.
- Expand your horizons
Take advantage of the free time and reduced distractions of your isolation to broaden your horizons. The world is full of fascinating information you’ve never known before, from historical events to interesting facts about the animal kingdom. Sign up for online educational courses on topics you’ve always been curious about. Take advantage of the online classes now offered by multiple educational institutions around the world during this time.
You can also take the time to read more books and similar material. Go over your reading materials and schedule a reading hour. Audiobooks and podcasts are also excellent resources to further your knowledge.
- Tap into your creativity
Develop your creative side during your isolation. Do you have a passion that you didn’t have the time to expand before? A few simple tools and implements are all it takes to nurture some creative impulses. For example, a blank notebook and some pens can jump-start your writing or poetry. A sketchpad and drawing materials can awaken your artistic tendencies. Encourage your creativity and enjoy the fulfilling emotion of introducing something new to the world.
- Start a journal
Introspection can be your friend during a period of isolation. Keeping a catalogue of what you do every day and your thoughts during this time can help in a few ways. First, reading your thoughts later can help you recognize patterns in your mindset. Second, journaling can be a great way of exploring your feelings about events and yourself. Finally, reading what you’ve written can help you understand yourself better.
- Fill the time with meaningful tasks
When you find yourself with nothing to do for a short period, you can take the opportunity to accomplish tasks you’ve postponed. Cleaning out and organizing rooms, such as the attic or the garage, is an excellent way of spending your time. Other tasks include clearing your wardrobe, changing linens, and folding laundry. These small tasks can accumulate significantly and provide hours of meaningful work.
- Be kind to yourself and others
Finally, don’t forget to take it easy on yourself and other people during this trying period. You may start thinking negative thoughts about yourself or others, but you must be kind. Keeping a positive and forgiving attitude will go a long way in helping you deal with your emotions.
Dealing with being alone and removed from your relationships is a difficult undertaking. But with enough preparation and the proper mindset, you can overcome isolation healthily.
Levinta Psychotherapy and Counselling offers accessible and professional counselling programs to clients in and around the York region of Ontario. Established in 2006, we offer counselling for concerns such as divorce, women’s issues, and relationship conflicts between parents and children.
Schedule an appointment with us today and let us work together towards a healthier tomorrow.