It seems perfect sense that loneliness and its influence on mental and physical health would receive literary attention in this unique period of pandemic isolation, social distance, and disguising. Loneliness is frequently compounded by the belief that one is alone while everyone else is linked.
While loneliness is not a medical or psychiatric diagnosis, it is closely linked to poor behavioral health, physical ailments, and an increased risk of suicide. According to the American Psychological Association, the evidence between loneliness and human health is strong.
Loneliness is one of the emotions that millions of people are experiencing as a result of the current coronavirus epidemic. Our typical means of visiting family, friends or just familiar faces have been placed on hold while we work together to keep safe and save lives. However, there are a few factors to keep in mind:
Loneliness and social isolation are all too typical among older individuals and usually co-occur. While loneliness relates to subjective sensations, social isolation is determined by the amount and frequency of social contacts. Loneliness is often characterized as the subjective experience of being alone, whereas social isolation depicts the real status of people’s social contexts and interactional patterns. According to research, while loneliness and social isolation are not synonymous, both can harm health via similar and distinct mechanisms.
Many of us experience loneliness from time to time, and these brief experiences should not harm our mental health. However, as the epidemic continues, these sentiments grow more long-term. Long-term loneliness is linked to an increased risk of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and stress. Long-term loneliness can have a negative influence on one’s mental health.
Loneliness has been linked to a variety of physical and mental consequences, including raised systolic blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease. Loneliness and social isolation have both been linked to an increased risk of coronary artery disease-related mortality, even in middle-aged people who have never had a heart attack. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated that loneliness and social isolation are both independent risk factors for increased all-cause death.
Loneliness has several negative effects on mental health. Loneliness has been linked to decreased time in bed spent sleeping (7 percent reduced sleep efficiency) and increased waking time following sleep start. Loneliness, combined with poor self-rated health, diminished functional status, eyesight problems, and a perceived unfavorable change in one’s life quality, may all contribute to increased depression symptomatology. A comprehensive analysis of suicide risk discovered that loneliness is linked to both suicide attempts and efforts to commit suicide.
Increase the amount of time you spend with your family. Make use of the chances provided by the epidemic. Some family members may have been distracted by job and school responsibilities before the epidemic, but now they may have more time at home and a greater degree of flexibility to engage with elderly loved ones. In the age of social distance, quality contacts with at least two meters of physical separation, as well as the use of personal protection equipment such as masks, allow contact with family members. This is quite beneficial in combating loneliness.
Maintain social relationships with the use of technology. Technology, like the telephone, has altered the way people communicate with one another. People may stay connected in several ways thanks to social media platforms such as Facebook, Skype, Twitter, LINE, and Instagram. Many older folks, on the other hand, may be unfamiliar with this new technology, and this type of engagement may not adequately meet their emotional requirements.
Exercise is beneficial to both physical and mental wellbeing (specifically for mood and cognition). There is evidence that engaging in intellectually difficult and novel activities regularly may lessen the incidence of dementia. Although we may not be able to exercise together as much as we used to, we should continue to engage in physical activities on an individual basis. Furthermore, these personal physical activities may be conducted in a community context by establishing a common objective, discussing our progress, or establishing a friendly rivalry through social media.
For many people, being restricted to their homes for most of the day is a psychological struggle. It is difficult to keep a regular daily schedule when most outdoor activities are unavailable. However, we can encourage and support people’s participation in pleasurable activities that benefit their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Regular scheduling is especially beneficial for elderly persons who are at risk of delirium, which is defined by a disruption in circadian rhythm. Television and YouTube channels geared for older individuals with appropriate physical and mental programming (e.g., exercise programs, mindfulness practice, and music programs) can also be quite beneficial.
Focus on things that make you feel happy and resourceful like taking a morning walk, or doing makeup, remember to use those eyelashes with strict eyelash quality control that you invested in before the pandemic started.
Remember that no one is immune to feeling lonely at times. During this coronavirus pandemic, we will all feel isolated from our loved ones at some time.
We can help avert a loneliness epidemic by caring for one another, checking in on those who are more isolated or even volunteering for a hotline.