I Am Not ‘Socially Isolated’ But I Am Physically Isolated

by | Apr 6, 2020

The term socially isolated has made you fail before you started. And I hate the term. They use complete social isolation in prisons, aka solitary confinement, as the harshest form of punishment.

We have spent the last few years trying to help those that are socially isolated and alone. Those that are vulnerable to mental health problems and the elderly, to not feel like it is only them out there. To help those that are especially low, perhaps even suicidal and that may not have any family. To help them by being a person that they can reach out to.

The term ‘social isolation’ tells people that they must stay away from everyone and society in general. And on the one hand yes, this is the right thing to do. We have to stay away from our friends, our families, our neighbours, our hobbies, going out to work, dinner, the list can go on. But this is not social isolation – this is physical isolation. I wish that when the government thought of this term, or whoever it was that first said we should socially distance or isolate ourselves, really thought of the wider ramifications to peoples attitude towards this lockdown and their mental well-being.

Social isolation can lead to great loneliness. Loneliness is usually the emotional response to isolation. Its bought about by a lack of connection and communication both in the present and the future. Ask yourself how you feel right now. I mean how you truly feel. Many of you still have work to do at home, because you can. Many of you have family at home, so you are not alone. Many of you have a wide circle of friends, and you are keeping up to date with them as best you can through social media, games, group WhatsApp etc. Do you still feel alone? I bet some of you say yes and some will say no.

So how can we get through this physical isolation – and yes that’s the term that I’m going to use from now on. How can you bring normality into your life to help you deal with the fact that this is not normal any more.

  1. Get up in the morning – and what I mean is keep to your normal get up time. If that was 6.30 – then stick to it. Its way to easy to spend all day in bed
  2. Don’t stay in your pj’s all day – shower, do your hair, put on makeup and false lashes and make yourself feel good
  3. Try to set a few rules, like not putting the TV on before 4pm. Binge watch shows by all means but give yourself a few boundaries. Trust me you will thank me for that one
  4. Move, put on your favourite play list or sound track to a movie, whatever it is, and dance like no one is watching
  5. Move – try new workout on youtube, theres loads of them for any level and any age. Get those feel good endorphins firing
  6. Reach out to someone – on facebook instagram, whatever. Someone that you may not have spoken to in years. Just do it. Be brave.
  7. Try to limit your alcohol and sugar intake – these are in the moment quick fixes but they won’t satisfy the emotional need for connections in your life
  8. Call family, don’t just message them. Talk on the phone or video chat.
  9. Read the books you have always said you would read
  10. Take a breath and know that you are ok, that you will be ok.
  11. Be kind to yourself and others, yes cross the street as you need to physically distance yourself. But smile at them. Ask how they are. Wave. Just be kind.

What we are learning as a human race is that the need to have connections in our lives is greater than ever. It has hopefully, given us insight into those peoples lives that don’t have those connections normally. My biggest hope is its giving us empathy and compassion. You have one life, live your best life now.