Hiking tips

7 Tips for Dealing with the Isolation Blues | Lifestyles

Most of us have faced some form of our limited activities, and some people have faced almost complete isolation.

No matter who you are, you’re probably living your life differently than you did before COVID-19. And it’s not very fun. For us, that means more live music nights or premieres. In fact, 90% of my social life has been canceled or postponed until… who knows when?

Goldsmith Barton

In the meantime, I’ve compiled a few activities that my wife and I indulge in, both to nurture our social skills and to combat that loneliness that’s part of the pandemic. Try them, if you wish.

1. Leave the TV on if you are alone. Movies or even news (if that’s not too depressing), game shows and soap operas will fill your space with the sound of other human beings. It reminds you that you are not so alone.

2. Make those Zoom calls a priority. If you haven’t seen your loved ones in a while, Zoom is a godsend. Video calls have gone from a business tool to a survival tool, and they help us stay in touch with the people we love the most. And it also allows many people to keep a comfortable job.

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3. Take long walks. Walking is good for you on many levels. Exercise reduces anxiety and depression, and it’s nice to greet people as you pass. See how saying hello brightens your mood. The spring flowers and animals you pass on your walk can only make you happy to be alive and available to experience them.

4. Get together with others outside of your immediate family. Even if you’re in a relationship or part of a larger family, you may also want to socialize with other people, and that’s pretty normal. We still meet with certain people, but we follow all the protocols to the letter. It’s not the same thing, but humans need the company of others. It’s in our DNA.

5. Maintain your garden. We have developed a deeper relationship with ours. The house has always been well appointed, but over the past two years we have started growing flowers and giving our pomegranate tree some extra love. What we get back is the gift of beauty and flavor and a sense of nurturing that is surprisingly fulfilling.

6. Exercise outdoors every day. It’s always been a must for my wife and my dog, and it’s now also my favorite. If a client needs to see me in person, we do a walking or outdoor session. Being in nature and the fresh air can only make things better, and it’s good for your body, mind, and psyche.

7. Help others in need. I try to help people I can who are struggling to survive during this painful time we all share. Sometimes I give money, other times I give advice, and sometimes I’m just there to listen. Giving back makes me feel relevant. I am grateful to be able to help others at a time when the world needs help more than ever.

Before the pandemic, we went out several nights a week, and going to events was part of my job — it even got a bit boring after a few years. Now I would donate body parts for a Wolfgang Puck buffet line at a low budget premiere. Anyway, I always laughed when I hung out with my buddies, and that’s what I miss the most. So, until we can play again, my friends, I hope these tips for coping with the isolation blues will make it easier for you too.

Dr. Barton Goldsmith, an award-winning psychotherapist, writer, and radio host based in Southern California, writes this column for the Tribune News Service. Email him at [email protected], read his blog at psychologyoftheday.com or follow him on Twitter @BartonGoldsmith.