Human beings have a need for inclusion, both in group settings and in close relationships. We are social animals who function better and stay motivated when we are in healthy relations with others.
Before social distancing was the new norm, three out of five Americans were already classified as lonely or socially isolated. The number is increasing as social distancing is necessary.
Loneliness and social isolation effects our mental health as well as our bodies. Research has shown that chronic loneliness decreases a variety of body functions and increases stress hormones which can adversely impact our state of wellness.
From high blood pressure to memory loss, one research study showed that loneliness effects the body as much as smoking 15 cigarettes in one day!
How to cope
Routine physical activity is key. Here are some ideas during limited operations and social distancing:
Maintain relationships virtually. Schedule coffee breaks or lunch breaks as you would do in the workplace or during school hours, only use the technology you have available to you. Call, Facetime, Skype or Zoom with a friend.
Practice meditation and mindfulness. Meditation helps mentally clear and emotionally calm the mind. Michelle DuVal, an instructor at UNM Center for Life, has five guided meditations online that you can listen to here.
Reach out. If you need assistance or just want to chat, lean on Employee Wellness. Our team offers consultations on nutrition, fitness, and wellness coaching.
At the moment, being with one another is discouraged but human connection is not. We just have to be a bit more creative in how we accomplish the art of connection for our overall social and mental well-being.