Several weeks into the semi-quarantine and social distancing, Americans are starting to really feel the isolation. It’s easy to take for granted the social benefit we get from others, the simple “Good morning, how are you!” from the barista at a coffee house, the “Have a nice day!” from the bank teller, and most of all your co-workers saying “Let’s get some work done team/fam!” Now we find ourselves missing that social aspect of work, which in some cases was what made work tolerable.
For some, it has compounded an already lonely existence. Before COVID-19, 52% of Americans said they felt alone, at least some of the time. Loneliness was a spreading epidemic prior to the pandemic we are facing now. From 2018 to 2019 indications of loneliness increased.
- 61% said those around them don’t share their interests and ideas
- 58% thought nobody really knew them
- 52% felt left out
- 49% said they didn’t have friends
We are now living out most aspects of our lives through the smaller lens of our homes. Family time, schooling, and work are all stuffed into our four or more walls. People are feeling exceedingly isolated, and it may be because of all of the above, especially working remotely. Remote workers, of course before the Coronavirus, were more likely to report feeling lonely being 6% more likely to feel isolated, and 17% more likely to lack friendships.
Living remotely adds stress to an already full plate, and can be harmful to your health if not managed. In a world seemingly out of control, finding balance will send your loneliness packing. Americans reported less loneliness when they got the right amount of sleep, social interaction, and physical activity.
Go outside, we still have access to our yard or cul-de-sac, take advantage of the fresh air. Set a routine, having order in our space will reduce mental fatigue and give a sense of control. Most importantly stay in touch with your people, friends, family, and colleagues.
Make a digital “water cooler,” by setting up a virtual webcam room to check-in with co-workers. Plan an online gaming tournament during lunch hour. Be careful not to plan mandatory fun, it should be an open invitation.
Come up with your own unique ways of connecting with co-workers. Promote a culture of inclusion and sincerity, and be lenient and forgiving, everyone has their own struggles. Remember, we’re all in this together, don’t hesitate to reach out to each other!
Check out more on Loneliness and Social Distancing here!