Wellness — April 6, 2020 at 6:00 pm

The Loneliness Epidemic

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By Maegan Carrasquillo, Staff Writer

Due to the measures put in place to hopefully slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the loss of connectivity makes many of us feel like climbing the walls. Sure, we spent lots of time indoors before but now we have to, and it suddenly seems far less appealing. But what has affected some only recently is a daily occurrence for many others.

The scary truth is that loneliness isn’t always just a passing feeling, it can have severe mental and physical effects, peaking in both adolescents and the elderly. It’s defined as, “sadness because one has no friends or company,” and though it sounds like social isolation, it’s quite different.  Some feel perfectly fine being isolated whereas those who feel loneliness are sad with or without people around, or that sense of connection.

Sufferers can experience elevated stress hormone levels like cortisol, which can increase the risk of heart disease, depression, and type 2 diabetes. Higher cortisol levels can also contribute to high blood pressure, mood swings and rapid weight gain.

Taking care of our health is vital for our overall well-being. Recognizing when it has become more than just a phase is important and will hopefully lead to the addition of more practices like those listed below to your already established health routine.

Meaningful Connections – Try to give a friend a call or video chat instead of just a quick text or email. Hearing someone’s voice on the other end can really boost your spirits and helps with any miscommunication that might occur with only written words.

Use Your Talents – Everyone is good at something. Try using your strengths to help others. If you love to read and have a soothing voice, try book narration videos for children or if you’re great at math create some tutorial videos. Helping people and sharing really fosters connectivity.

Replace Social with Environmental – School is canceled for most and some of us have more free time on our hands. Try getting outdoors and connecting with nature. If you have others home with you, whether family or pet, it’s also a nice way to get together and lessen the stress from being cramped indoors.

Speak About It – For those who don’t feel like they connect with many, reach out to the ones you do connect with and let them know why they are so special to you. Chances are you’ll both feel better!

Write a Note – This one works twofold, not only will you get to express yourself, you can also make someone else in a lonely circumstance feel better. You can write to a member of the military deployed overseas through Soldiers’ Angels or even to pediatric cancer patients through Tyler Robinson Foundation.

Move – Motion creates emotion, any type of movement will help change those feelings of loneliness, even if only for a short time.

Loneliness was already an epidemic and now we have this pandemic. It’s a harsh reality, but thankfully, with the right attitude and a few adjustments we can make just about anything work. We’re all in this together so let’s share those bright ideas, kind stories, or tricks you’ve implemented that are working for you.

The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by Health Canada or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. None of the information presented is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is a personal account and individual experiences may vary. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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