How You Can Manage Loneliness
Grappling with feelings of loneliness can be even more difficult during the holidays or other times of the year where we usually socialize or have more access to friends and family. During the pandemic, many socially wealthy people and those who thrive in the company of others have struggled with isolation and social distancing requirements.
Others who were more introverted before, struggle even further with isolation and feelings of loneliness. This can become even more profound for patients who are quarantined inside of hospital and healthcare settings, where the majority of face-to-face interactions are short, interrupted by necessary PPE, and often confusing or disorienting for those suffering illness.
Loneliness can be managed in more unconventional ways as we move forward with growing technologies and platforms that allow us to see each other and communicate.
If you are a gamer, podcast, talk radio, tutorial, or another documentary-style entertainment fan, Twitch is a platform that allows you to game with others or watch people play video games, conventional board and die games, or just chat. You can stream yourself with Twitch to find others with similar interests or you can just watch others on Twitch and interact with them. You choose your interests. Who knows, you might even find something you had no idea you would be interested in?
You can also monetize your streaming in Twitch if you wanted to make this form of connection a way for your to sustain yourself. Be aware, though, that being monetized on this platform has the same challenges as finding an audience on other video platforms like YouTube. You have to do the work to grow your fanbase and attract viewers with similar interests. It can be a great way to find a community if you avoid stressing yourself out growing a following. Twitch can allow you to just relax and watch what you choose to watch. There are also games built into streams. If the streamer chooses, you can play games inside of their chat or participate with other viewers in on-screen games.
If you are a professional who wants to grow your professional community or search for jobs you may not find elsewhere, LinkedIn is social media for career-minded people. Finding a job face-to-face has been challenging with the pandemic and many recruiters are using LinkedIn to search for job candidates. Finding a job can be a way to socialize healthily, with people who are just as driven and career-focused as you are. The benefit of finding employment can truly be finding that work-family that recruiters always use as a selling point in interviews.
You can use the site’s features to help you build your resume and network with others in your field around the world. If you are not a fan of traditional social media and you want to use one with purpose, LinkedIn might just be the site for you. News, articles, research, and other publications are available. You can also build certifications from tests available for free on LinkedIn.
Zoom, Teams and Skype
Interacting with family and friends can be a bummer through text, try planning video events. Platforms like Zoom and Skype allow users to connect via video chat for free. Microsoft Teams can be something you use through your company to conduct meetings online. If you work in leadership, consider these platforms to help keep your people connected.
Don’t dispense with holiday parties or event celebrations, get your family, friends, or coworkers together via video calls and stay in touch. Sometimes just seeing a face and hearing a voice can matter, especially when you are feeling isolated. It isn't the same as a hug or in-person interaction, but these services can help you feel a little less alone in the world.
YouTube, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram
Traditional social media or video platforms have live features that you can now utilize. Some have restrictions, like TikTok where you have to have a certain amount of followers to go live. However, the others do not have basic requirements you can just click on “Live” and interact with your chosen group or even strangers from around the world. Facebook and YouTube also have gaming features that allow you to share what you are gaming live, if you prefer not to use Twitch. Instagram is place to post pictures and stories to help others keep up with your life and to help you keep up with others, in addition to live video chats.
Be careful using these services with your children, they can open gateways to predators as with any other social media. Safeguard yourself and use good sense like not sharing personal information with strangers on the internet. But you can find others with similar interests or experiences by simply reaching out and seeing who reaches back.
This one can be hard. However, you can challenge that need to seek the company of others by challenging your own introspection. Take times of isolation to read, learn a new hobby, write or journal, learn a new skill, or find solace in nature. There is nothing wrong with self-soothing and using this time to heal, contemplate or manage things that you might have let fall by the wayside when you had more social distractions.
Use this time to learn to be less dependent on your cell phone, tablet, or other technology. Sometimes we find peace of mind in ourselves and the healthiest relationship we should have is with ourselves. Screen time has been a contested topic since the advent of the screen itself. You might find that you feel less grim if you remove yourself and learn to love yourself instead of seeking that love from others. I am not suggesting you become a hermit. I am suggesting that this might just be the exact right time to look inward and reflect on yourself, your mental health, and what you love. You should always be your most cared-for priority.
If you need help with the process there are several online counseling and therapy services that you can use without having to wait for in-person therapy or group therapy. Research services that offer online and text therapy if you prefer to text. Most often, these require video chatting or phone calls. It may be that you are reaching out into the world to find yourself in others when really you can reach inward and seek your own clarity.