Written by Vanessa Young

Battling lockdown loneliness

Before this year, we’ve never even heard of the phrase “social distancing.” (Except perhaps film buffs who may remember the term from 2009’s Contagion.) Now, it’s difficult to go a day without chatting about quarantine or staying six feet apart.

More and more people are feeling the effects of loneliness — but it’s completely normal to feel far removed from friends and family at this time.

The science behind loneliness

I spoke with Rowan University graduate Kelsey Damato who works as a school psychologist to find out more about these feelings and methods to combat them:

“As a social species, we’re always taught that we’re physically safer in a group. The safety in numbers hypothesis can be debunked in many ways, but there is merit in this theory when speaking about our mental safety,” she explains.

“Our daily interactions with others supply us with a healthy dose of dopamine. In isolation, those interactions have dwindled and are few and far between in some cases. It’s one of the reasons isolated people may be feeling more lonely,” Kelsey says.

Next remains the question: how do we combat these negative feelings in a world where we are now more physically isolated than before? Kelsey suggests that in addition to setting a limit on daily social media consumption time, staying active, and daily meditation practices, writing a gratitude list also has a positive effect. “Writing down what we are grateful for can center us and remind us what is important. And lastly, when you are feeling overwhelmed, remind yourself that this is a temporary situation.”

Live well be well

At Siegfried, we believe in the importance of “Live Well Be Well,” and strive to create an organizational culture of wellness. I spoke to a few Siegfried employees to find out how what they’ve been doing to tackle the quarantine blues over the last few months.

Presley Board, National Sales and Ambassador Operations Associate, gave insight to her personal experience and a positive effect of virtual connection: “It’s been different. I enjoy the extra time spent at home, but I find myself FaceTiming with my mom and best friends almost every day. I actually feel closer to them than I did before COVID.”

Find a routine

As for how to cope, Presley has a few tips on how to improve your headspace. “While I haven’t felt lonely (I live in a small apartment with my husband) there are a few things I do every day to put me in a better mindset,” she says. “I think a morning routine is crucial. I wake up and read the news in bed, make the bed, workout and then wash up for the day. It really helps me set my day up and puts me in a good mood.”

Creating a daily routine not only increases productivity, but it also can lead to improved stress levels and help combat loneliness. From my personal experience, writing a to-do list I can check off as I go throughout my day allows me to stay on track and conquer any negative feelings.

Start a new tradition

Siegfried Ambassador Lexi Portincasa also shares her own favorite approach which entails creating new traditions with family and friends:

“One of my favorite new traditions is going around the dinner table every night and discussing one thing we are thankful for,” Lexi says. “This has shown us what we have taken for granted in the past and how much we appreciate the smaller things in life.” It’s worthwhile to try creating and maintaining family traditions and use this time to lean on one another. Although in-person festivities don’t look the same as they used to, that doesn’t mean that they have to end.

Explore new passions

Establishing a new hobby is another great way to help you feel more productive and less lonely. If you don’t have at least one in mind you would enjoy, here are a few ideas. Siegfried Ambassador Peter Winslow explains how he took this approach: “I have worked to find some new hobbies to overcome loneliness. I have picked up road cycling and I now ride about 100 miles a week. It’s a great way to clear my mind and start the day,” he says.

Looking ahead

Staying at home has given people the extra time and motivation to connect with friends and family. It’s also given us more spaciousness to reflect.

So catch up with a colleague who you haven’t talked to in a few weeks. Have a weekly virtual happy hour with friends. Text a family member you haven’t seen in a while. And lastly, although you may feel lonely at times in this current climate, it’s crucial to remember that what you’re feeling is normal and will pass.

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