Ways to deal with isolation from friends during COVID
Looking for ways to deal with isolation from friends during COVID? You’re not alone!
For many of us, the COVID-19 lockdown has been one of the hardest times in our modern lives. The virus has swept across the world causing disruption and devastation. In response countries had needed to enforce lockdowns separating people from their usual routine and restricting families and friends from seeing each other. It’s easy to feel alone during these times, as you have likely not seen friends or family for weeks, or months now. Being isolated from friends during COVID can have a pretty intense impact on your mental health. I’ve noticed it myself, and I am sure that you have to. Even if you aren’t the most social creature around, weeks on end without regular face-to-face contact can be painful and we might not notice the signs it’s having a negative effect on our mental health.
So, here are some useful ways I’ve found to help deal with being isolated from friends.
Set up a regular chat night
One of the best things that you can do during lockdown to avoid isolation from friends during COVID is to set up a chat night. You can simply sit with a phone/tablet and have it on the desk, talking away for 30 minutes to an hour every evening or two with your friends.
This helps you to keep up with each other’s lives and also to support one another when mental health starts to flag. Even a simple small talk chat with family and friends can keep you feeling less isolated from the world.
If you’re worried that you might not have things to talk about each week, set some different themes such as:
- Quiz night, you can use zoom to set up a quiz just take it in turns to be quiz master!
- ‘Who can’. Each week set a challenge to achieve during the week. Such as who can find the weirdest fact, who can walk the most steps
- Present something new. Each week someone goes and learns something new and then presents it back to the group. This will also give you something to focus on during the week, especially if you’re not at work.
Get a pen pal
A very easy way to help feel more connected to others is to get a penpal. You can find many ways of doing this, and it gives you the chance to start writing to someone who you have never met before. Like you, they will likely be stuck in the loop of isolation, so they will be eager for the chance to speak to someone new.
It’s a good way to help you open up to someone and to speak freely, enjoying a new conversation via letter or via e-mail.
Here are some links to penpal sites:
Take up a new hobby (and talk about it)
One of the easiest ways to overcome isolation stress is to use your time wisely. You might always have wanted to learn the guitar – well, what better way to start?
You can learn online using eLearning or via YouTube and self-teach yourself. Then, on those chats with friends and family, you can show them your budding progress at your new skill(s). This helps to keep social conversation fresh, but it also means that you don’t spend all day looking for something to do to pass the time.
Pick up a new skill and tell people about it; it feels great to share.
Help someone in need
One thing that many people are finding is that they have a lot of what they need, but little social contact. Well, a good way to help out is to look for people in your local area who look like they could use a little help. You could even drop off a little hamper to the house (cleansed before delivery, of course) and use your time to help those who might not have as much as you.
Many of us are wanting for social contact as opposed to material goods during this lockdown. Help someone else who might need the food more than the conversation; you’ll feel better for it. If you’re keen to help others here are some ways you can get started:
- Volunteer or donate to your local food bank
- See if any organisation need volunteers to help them
- Group supporting older people might need help to deliver parcels or do thing thing like gardening/ car washing
- Link in with your local homeless charity
Join a chat group
One thing that could be useful if you find that you are flagging due to isolation from friends is to join a new chat group. You could join something on Reddit if you use it, or a Facebook group. You should be looking for something related to something you are passionate about, and this gives you a chance to talk to new people, learn new things, and simply enjoy your downtime.
Start a podcast
While you might not feel like you are podcast material, many hugely successful podcasts started off that way. Since you only need to essentially record a conversation with you and someone else over a live chat and then edit it so that it sounds semi-professional, anyone could start up a podcast.
Think about your passions or what you do for your profession. How could you create something valuable and worthwhile? It’s a good way to sit and talk to people you know (or guests on the show) about something you care about, whilst giving you a project that might last well beyond lockdown.
Take care of yourself
It’s absolutely essential that you understand just how serious your mental health is. Alongside physical well-being, you need to care for your mind. And while many of us have gotten used to exercising during lockdown, caring for the mind has become a secondary feature for many.
That’s why you need to take better care of yourself. Take a look at some of my other articles on mental health, and I am certain that you will find the ideas that you need to come out the other side of lockdown feeling ready to take back your life.