Tips on dealing with chronic social isolation

At the end of last year, I shared a blog with you all around chronic loneliness and social isolation (don’t forget there is a big difference between ‘feelings’ of loneliness and actual physical social isolation). For the first time last year I’d started to feel my wellbeing decline physically, cognitively and emotionally. I’d spent too much time with so little human connection and I’d started to feel it. Here I share some quick tips with you to help ease the isolation.

I am used to spending a lot of time alone – I even go away on holiday alone! I love alone time. But balance applies to everyone! Despite much of my alone time being forced upon me due to life changing physical health challenges 9 years ago, I learnt to embrace it. Finding gratitude in each day. Enjoying the limited social time I had and treasured time with special people I loved. When something you love is taken away from you, strength is learning to adapt, treasuring the small things and finding inner peace.

This year with the 2020 challenges we all faced, I felt all of the challenges I had faced alone all those years ago, come into full power. The change of social structure, lack of interaction with others, spending time at home when I wanted to be exploring, financial uncertainty and job loss, not being able to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted – I’d had to deal with it all 9 years ago. And the process was long, lonely and hard. I didn’t have anyone offering support or understanding like we have collectively been trying to offer each other. Whilst this sounds harder (and I think it may have been but who knows!), I am so so thankful as it made me so strong. It prepared me to be unshakable this year whilst everyone else started to struggle with their emotions around me (which is completely understandable, natural and normal in challenges) because I’d been through it all before – I feel like I was trained for this year and what follows. Of course there were challenges for me this year – loads of them. But I didn’t have the added shock of life change to add to the process. Plus, my self care and emotional resilience is now my super power (pre-2011 I thought I was emotionally resilient. I was, but not like I am now). All because of what happened in 2011/12. See how you can be thankful for really painful times?

However, just before Christmas I finally felt the first emotional wobble around the COVID situation. I’d spent even more time alone than normal, with no conversations other than digitally. My Husband was out of the home more than he was at home. I’d started to notice a change in my overall wellbeing. So I acknowledged it, sat with it, communicated about it and made some lifestyle changes. Also, my husband took time off from working out of the home over Christmas so I had some company. Just having the energy of someone else here was just what I needed. It did me the world of good! I feel so much better all round and feel so lucky I don’t live alone as well as work alone (although I could have found a bubble and would probably have had more social contact lol!).

I promised some insight on my journey for anyone spending too much time alone and figuring out how to help: