In recent years, isolation has unfortunately become a term and practice that we are all too familiar with. We are naturally social beings, and we crave social interaction and relationships.
Being forced into isolation for any length of time is unhealthy for us, which is why it has been used as punishment in civilizations for hundreds of years, and continues to be used in our prison systems today.
But after 2 years of on-and-off isolation for much of the world, it's become something some of us are becoming more accustomed to, or even prefer. This is a dangerous trend. It is so important for us not to fall into this trap.
We need to shake off this mentality and get back out there . Back to the way it used to be. Isolation can be detrimental to our mental health, and we need to change our mindset as we begin to adapt to life after the pandemic.
First, let's explain what exactly social isolation is. The following symptoms are associated with unhealthy social isolation:
- Avoiding social interactions, including those that were once fun.
- Frequently canceling plans and feeling relief when plans are canceled.
- Experiencing fear or panic when thinking about social interactions.
- Feeling of anxiety associated with social activities.
- Spending a lot of time alone or with very little contact with others.
It is not uncommon to experience some of these feelings to some extent, but it is important that you do not let them affect you too much or control your actions.
The unfortunate problem with these feelings is that the more you give in to them, the worse they become. The more you isolate yourself from the world due to social anxiety, the more you suffer from social anxiety.
Loneliness leads to higher levels of anxiety and depression, which in turn leads to more loneliness. It can really be a dangerous spiral to find yourself in.
That's why it's so important to break the cycle , even if it seems scary or intimidating. The more you do it, the easier it becomes, and the more you start to enjoy it
Working from home has made it even harder to bring some social interaction into our lives. From Monday to Friday, a person's social contacts may be limited to meetings and visits to the store.
And then the weekend may consist of just 1 or 2 meaningful social interactions. Over a period of 7 days that is not healthy.
Just because it's the work week doesn't mean you have to stay home. Weekday evenings are a great time to meet up and connect with friends .
So, what exactly can you do to get out of the house and meet some people in a low-pressure environment? A nice, cozy café for a quiet drink, or a sunny beer garden in summer, are always a good idea.
If the pressure of conversation makes you anxious, concerts and performances are great too. Go to a show, listen to the music, dance a dance, have a drink and enjoy.
The cinema is also good for the same reason. A low-pressure situation where you can sit down and watch a movie while bonding socially with someone, rather than watching it alone at home.
The most important thing is to get out there . Start making plans and meeting people. The more often you do that, the easier it becomes.
As we all try to put the frustrating last 2 years behind us, it's important to remember what life was like before the pandemic, to continue to grow outward and connect with people.