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Gemma’s Gem of the Week: Dealing with Isolation

Gemma’s Gem of the Week: Dealing with Isolation

In 2021, studies show that 2 in 3 Americans feel more alone than ever following the pandemic. We have been navigating an unpredictable year, where many folks suffered loss of employment, loved ones, or in-person social connections overall. We have been facing uncertainty at its finest, which can feel like a heavy weight on our shoulders. Many of us understand by now that these times can feel extra lonely.

“Researchers discovered 62 percent of people felt like they had absolutely no one to talk about their loneliness during quarantine. Sadly, 54 percent add they withheld from talking to anyone about how they felt during this past year because they didn’t want to be a burden.” – Chris Melore, studyfinds.org. 

Feeling Like a Burden

The isolation and loneliness surrounding invisible battles can be even worse than the battle itself. With so little education surrounding mental health, we can feel pressured to only be seen at our best, believing our struggles are burdens to others. In reality, we aren’t always seeing what’s happening behind closed doors. Because of this, we might repress what’s really going on in order to make those around us comfortable.

A friend once said to me, “It actually makes me feel more comfortable to be open and honest with my feelings when you’re vulnerable with me. You’re not a burden.” Sometimes, being vulnerable can encourage the people around you to do the same. No matter what, even if it’s a therapist or counselor, there will always be someone willing to listen, and you will always be worthy of being heard.

Craving Connection, Yet Feeling Overwhelmed in Social Situations

Many of us are still getting used to going out and navigating social situations after being quarantined for so long – and that’s okay. It can be really frustrating when you crave connection so much, yet feel overwhelmed and anxious when it comes to taking that first step. Sometimes, it can be helpful to ease into socialization at your own pace first. This could mean meeting one close friend one-on-one before going out with a group, and seeing how you feel from there.

Setting boundaries on what you’re comfortable with can also be incredibly helpful, as well. For example, if meeting in an indoor setting feels too overwhelming, perhaps suggest meeting outside instead. Or, when you feel ready to leave, give yourself permission to step away and look out for yourself. The right ones will understand and support your decision.

Feeling Unmotivated and Exhausted

Sometimes when we’re feeling isolated, the very idea of the most nominal task can feel utterly exhausting. This can lead to being hard on ourselves for not getting everything done. Times like this are big indicators to go easier on ourselves. Considering the hard times we’re living in, on top of being human in general, it’s okay to not have productive days. It’s okay to not get everything done.

Being “productive” isn’t just linked to the work outside of ourselves. Eating is productive. Getting enough sleep is productive. Putting on an outfit is productive. Drinking water is productive. Give yourself permission to take a break, and perhaps go on a walk and get some vitamin D. Set aside a few minutes away from the screen so your brain may focus and engage on something else – even if it’s as simple as walking around the block with some headphones.

You Deserve Support

Isolation can feel heavy and make it difficult to want to do a whole lot. Start small – feel out what small habits and routines work for you. Maybe it’s opening the blinds first thing in the morning instead of logging onto social media. Perhaps it’s looking into a new hobby, or setting aside breaks throughout the day.

Overall, you are worthy of being loved and supported in your isolating moments just as much as your brighter moments. You are not any less valuable or worthy for feeling isolated; it’s all part of the complexities of being a human being living through a difficult period. Know you’re not alone, and you always deserve to have someone in your corner.

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An Author, Editor, and Writer, Gemma Farquhar loves engaging with the projects she works on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of the stories she feels are newsworthy. She is a curious and proactive Writer, interested in the latest digital media trends and passionate about the future of storytelling. She welcomes all ages to her column in hopes of achieving a greater understanding of one another.

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