In the almost two years since the Corona Virus pandemic began, many of us have found ourselves alone too much of the time. An article in the November issue of AARP Magazine provided some very helpful tips on avoiding feelings of isolation, and R-UTN Corresponding Secretary Jane Flood summarized parts of the article for our members.
“6 Ways to Beat Social Isolation During a COVID Winter”
Written by Rachel Nania, featuring an interview with Dr. Ruth Benca from Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
- Embrace virtual opportunities: keep up with video calls; sign up for a virtual writing workshop, art class, or online choir! Libraries are a great resource for these.
- Get outside as much as you can: “…getting outdoors regularly wherever you are is important”, both for light exposure and physical activity. Exposure to sunlight helps with the production of melatonin, important for sleep, and seratonin, a mood-booster. Adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Meet a friend for a walk; check community centers for lists of outdoor activities.
- Consider a pod! A pod is something that became popular during the worst days of the pandemic. It’s a small group of people who quarantined together or were similarly cautious with masks, vaccines, etc. It might be a good idea if you have a close group of friends.
- Keep a routine. “Maintaining a sense of structure is important because when you’re isolated, you may be kind of drifting and you’re not regular about things.” Keep to a sleep schedule, 7-9 hours a night. Too much or too little can wreak havoc on your health, your memory, even thinking skills. Structure your day; have regular meals, have something to look forward to each day!
- Talk with a health care provider. If you feel loneliness or isolation seeping in, tell your doctor. Describe your symptoms, including any stresses or big changes. This will help your physician determine treatment if necessary.
- Use available resources. “Federal agencies, national organizations, and local community groups have resources to help adults avoid social isolation.” Podcasts, puzzles, volunteer opportunities – something to think about to engage your brain!