Lockdowns & Loneliness
Updated: Aug 26, 2021
Our generation, despite all the facilities, people around us, and latest technology to keep us connected, are experiencing a loneliness pandemic. Overuse of our social channels can make us feel worse instead of better.
So, what can we do to begin to feel a real sense of connection to ourselves and to others?
When something positive happens in your life, share it. I don’t mean on social media. But rather, share it in real life! Text or call a friend. Share it with your co-worker. Try to embrace even small accomplishments, in the present moment. They don’t have to be big. You’ll create small, magical moments of connection with others by doing so.
Re-think your socials content
Instead of posting about things you did, reclaim the word “share” for what it really means—to give a small or large portion of what is yours to someone else.
You could share advice, some words of support, inspiration or even empathy, all from your smartphone. As a result, your connections are likely to be kinder and more genuinely supportive.
Take a break
Send some compassion inwards. Self-blame, during feelings of loneliness, is unhelpful. Try to limit negative self-talk and engage in some self-care behaviours that you know work for you instead. A walk in nature. A good podcast. A play with your dog. A stretching session. An ocean swim. Whatever floats your boat really.
Connect in real life. In social settings we often default to the safety of looking at our phones. To strengthen in person connections, we need to resist that urge. Instead, try looking people in the eyes, and really listening when someone is talking to you. Whether that be your partner, friend, cashier, or barista. Talk to the strangers behind those masks (at a safe distance of course!) Research shows that even seemingly trivial interactions with strangers, may keep loneliness at bay and help us (and them) feel more socially connected. Making an active choice to be more present and less distracted by technology, goes a long way.
In our technology crazed world, it is sometimes hard to avoid this trap. We are bombarded with reminders of everyone else’s highlight reels. We are also overwhelmed with filtered images of ‘perfection’. Choose who you follow on social media wisely and be mindful of how certain accounts make you feel. Self-awareness is one of our biggest shields. We just need to tune in.
Generating a sense of awe on our life, helps us be more open to connection. Feeling small, in the context of a big world, helps us feel part of a whole and leaves us feeling less alone. Try to seek experiences and find your own awe-inspiring moments; whether it’s a hiking a beautiful mountain, enjoying a special landscape, eating spectacular food, trying a new experience or honing a particular skill. The choice is yours.
Be a detective
Pay attention to what experiences make you feel lonely. Notice when you feel more connected or like you belong. Identifying this distinction can help by giving you the insight to limit behaviours, which make you feel lonely. You can then go to town on those activities you find, help you feel connected.
Whether it’s remotely, or in real life, working on an important problem with others can help decrease your loneliness. Volunteering for a cause aligned with your values, can also assist with meeting new likeminded people.