Coping with stress and trauma in isolation
Even though we are said to be slowly phasing ourselves back towards normality after the Coronavirus lockdown, it will be some time before we will experience total freedom and normal social interaction.
This whole lockdown thing just got me to thinking about isolation in general. COVID-19 and the ensuing strict employment of social distancing has served to remind us that there are millions of people who live all the time with isolation through loneliness.
An eye opening report
I don’t have exact figures on the extent of this issue in South Africa, but one thing for sure is that loneliness is global. The Kaiser Family Foundation, in partnership with The Economist, conducted a survey of adults in the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan which included interviews and looked at some of the causes of isolation through loneliness and how people are coping.
What it revealed
According to the report, “more than a fifth of adults in the United States (22 percent) and the United Kingdom (23 percent) as well as one in ten adults (nine percent) in Japan say they often or always feel lonely, feel that they lack companionship, feel left out, or feel isolated from others, and many of them say their loneliness has had a negative impact on various aspects of their life.”
These are significant and disturbing percentages, reminding us that isolation was not the invention of COVID-19 and neither will it just go away post the pandemic. What the pandemic has done however, is exacerbate these isolation through loneliness statistics, by adding enforced isolation through restricted social distancing!
Lockdown is a reminder of restricted space
We tend to return to a childlike state when faced with restricted space. Remember that this is a favourite punishment for many parents who feel that it is better to spare the rod and simply send a child to their room, or tell them they are ‘grounded!’
From a very early age therefore we tend to see restricting our space as a punishment and we don’t take kindly to it. We resent being restricted and no doubt the resentment towards this COVID-19 pandemic ‘punishment’ is palpable. My first word of advice therefore is to accept that lockdown is not punishment, but a form of protection.
Try to focus on the positive aspects of being alone. Think of self-awareness and self-development as being key. Take online classes, read great books, take the walks or jogs when you can in the fresh air and find spiritual fulfilment through meditation and research.
My business is known as ‘Self and more’ because I believe that the growth and nurturing of the self must precede all else. I have online soul searching and self-development programs, so please take advantage of them.
Keep interacting and growing
This does not mean stop interaction with others. Obviously take every opportunity to interact with others within the restrictions of the law. Join an online social organisation, club or business network, set up regular chats with family and friends at appointed times. Remember you can even take effective exercise classes that build body, mind and soul like my online TRE (for trauma release) and Pilates classes.
Isolation through loneliness has been with us for many years, but this enforced isolation is a bitter pill to swallow. Don’t despair though – there are effective ways of coping with stress and trauma in isolation and I’m here for you to help you do it. I’m just a call away – be safe and look after yourself!