A Psychologist’s Guide to Dealing with Loneliness in Isolation

With the COVID-19 pandemic requiring an increase in social isolation, many of us might be feeling lonely.

Social isolation and the loneliness that goes with it can bring up a multitude of emotions. These range from anxiety, grief and anger, through to calm and hopefulness. Some of us may even end up feeling all of these in a single day!

We outline some examples of normal responses to social isolation, and provide tips for dealing with loneliness during COVID-19.

Normal emotional responses to the pandemic

These can include:

  • Overwhelm – feelings of overwhelm can come from being overloaded with new information or stresses.
  • Grief – some of us may be grieving the loss of our ‘old life’ of socialising, going to the gym and events, and having regular hugs!
  • Anxiety – feeling anxious is a very natural response, especially as we don’t know how things will pan out.
  • Boredom – it might be that some of us are finding the isolation just downright boring and demotivating.!
  • Numbness – feeling nothing much at all can also be how some of us respond to chaotic and new events.
  • Guilt – people having an easier time of the current situation may be experiencing something similar to ‘survivor guilt’.

There can be a range of other emotions as well as these, both uncomfortable and comfortable. The most important thing is to know that that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to feel.

A Psychologist’s Guide to Dealing with Loneliness in Isolation / Sydney City Psychology

Tips for dealing with loneliness during the pandemic

Connection is essential for most of us for our wellbeing. Research shows that while people will often look for life satisfaction through success and achievements, it’s actually our level of social connectedness that usually determines how happy we are.

So it’s important to stay connected where possible. Make sure to take advantage of the benefits of modern technology for keeping up with friends, families and group activities during this time. This includes phone calls, emails, messaging apps and live meeting software such as Skype or Zoom.

Other ways of improving our lives during social isolation include setting routines and daily structures, keeping physically active and healthy, and taking scheduled breaks from the news.

It’s also important to reach out if necessary, for example, through online counselling or help lines. If you would like to speak to a psychologist or find out more about how we can support you during you this time, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

A Psychologist’s Guide to Dealing with Loneliness in Isolation / Sydney City Psychology