“It is not good for man to be alone” – Genesis 2:18
According to Google News (Sep 2022), the Covid-19 pandemic has caused over 6.5 million deaths since the outbreak in 2019. It’s a catastrophic number, and doesn’t even include the ripple effect and the price we’ve paid due to isolation that has caused other diseases and illnesses. And it truly proves that when one suffers, we all suffer.
The most devastating impact of isolation has been loneliness. It has been said that loneliness is more deadly than smoking, heart disease, and obesity. According to the CDC, “Poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) was associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke”. They also mention that loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
Many of us are feeling this impact, but don’t have the tools to combat it. This has led me to share some ideas that have helped me, and many of these things can be done virtually:
· Meet new people through yoga, book clubs, hiking, etc. There are groups for everything!
· Devote quality time with a friend, in person or through video.
· Be you, be authentic. Life’s a lot easier when you be yourself!
· Find your passion and stay busy, get out of your own head.
· Adopt a pet, or offer to dog-sit!
· Forgive others. No one is perfect, including you.
· Listen to music or watch a comedy, it can be an instant mood-changer!
· Let go of pride, it can be your worst enemy.
· Be hospitable. Invite others, whether in person or virtual!
· Volunteer, the world desperately needs you.
· Honor one another. Being kind will unlock your inner joy!
I’ll finish with this lovely quote from Pope Francis, which I believe is the best way to lead us out of loneliness:
“…not just seeing, but looking; not just hearing, but listening; not just passing people by, but stopping with them; not just saying ‘what a shame, poor people!’, but allowing yourself to be moved with passion…”