Human beings are social creatures. We love getting out there and mixing it up with some randoms!
Okay, maybe not EVERY human loves rando maxing, but each and every one of us craves connection. It’s a part of our evolutionary development; we don’t fare well in isolation.
The scientific data on loneliness is actually kind of unbelievable. A lack of human interaction will impact both our mental and physical health in considerable ways.
- Did you know that loneliness will literally break your heart? One study found that being lonely can increase your risk of developing coronary artery disease or stroke by up to 30%!
- Social isolation is also associated with cognitive decline. (For anyone who has been stuck in quarantine for too long, that means being lonely can actually make you dumber :P)
- Two of the most common side effects of social isolation are anxiety and depression. And, let’s be honest, the last thing any of us needs right now is to feel more anxious and depressed.
Now, I know what all of you out there in lockdown are thinking, “Oh, Great! So, I’m becoming more depressed, getting dumber, and I’m likely to have a heart attack any day now! Thanks, Jester!”
Well, don’t slip into a pit of despair just yet. We decided to do a little research of our own, and we’ve come up with some creative connection ideas to help you beat the isolation blues, keep your heart healthy and your mind sharp.
- Zoom in to your friend’s living room – Zoom is the leader in modern video communication. You can video chat with more than 40 friends at the same time. According to a 2013 study, video conferencing came close to giving people the same positive emotional response as face-to-face communication. If you don’t have Zoom, you can use Skype, Facetime or Facebook Messenger.
- Online boardgames – Stave off cognitive decline by destroying your friends in a game of online Monopoly. Board games exercise your brain by forcing you to use your memory and think up winning strategies. And they’re a great way to interact with friends and family from anywhere in the world.
- Book Club/Movie Club – One thing plenty of us have right now is free time. Why don’t you and your friends use that time to watch the same movie or read the same book? You can video conference each other after and discuss it. …maybe over wine?
- Reach out – This is an important one. One of the most important things for you to remember is that we are all going through this crisis together. We can all relate to one another; we all feel your pain! So, if social isolation is starting to get you down, you can be sure your loved ones are feeling the same way.
The best way to combat negative thoughts or emotions is to get outside them for a while. And the most effective way of escaping your own head is to reach out to someone else who may be struggling. Be a socially distanced shoulder to cry on. Let your friends vent about being stuck in a house with their kids. Listen to and comfort someone else, and in doing so, help alleviate your own loneliness.
Truth be told, we’re writing this blog post today because we too are feeling the pangs of social distancing, and we’re hoping to connect with you.
So, stay happy, stay healthy and enjoy the sunshine.
We’re going to get through this together.
John Fabian May 28, 2020
Great advice, don’t forget to throw in a little exercise. I recommend bike riding through the many beautiful trails in Ottawa.
John Fabian May 28, 2020
Great advice, .
Cathy May 28, 2020