Social isolation is increasing, and so does loneliness. A lack of brotherhood is one of the leading causes of social isolation. A feeling of community or inclusiveness is crucial for human well-being and happiness. More than a quarter of the population in the U.S lives alone; the rates are rapidly increasing across other parts of the world. According to an analysis by Julianne Holt-Lunstada, a Ph.D. professor of psychology and neuroscience, a lack of social connection heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. She has also found that loneliness and social isolation effects are twice as harmful to mental and physical health as obesity.
Effects of Social Isolation
A 2016 study found that there are humongous harmful effects of social isolation, including a 30% increase in stroke or coronary heart diseases.
Below are more adverse effects of social isolation on your health
- Increased levels of stress
- Impeded or poor sleep
- Accelerated cognitive decline
- Impaired immunity
Do We Need Social Isolation?
Whether it is self or government-imposed, social isolation can be a fundamental response and prerequisite to saving lives in this critical situation of the coronavirus.
By following social distancing, we can prevent the spread of illness and disease; reduce risk in those that are already vulnerable to falling ill. The prevention of the spread is also a means to protect our economies and societies – both nationally and globally.
By the general public responding in a productive and supportive manner, social isolation can also ease the government to a great extent.
It can also let those in the public health sector to mitigate the risk of the virus and provide more time to work towards creating a vaccine for coronavirus with a concrete plan that will be in everybody’s best interests.
Social isolation can present a range of challenges and also demand a rather immediate and adaptable change in lifestyle.
For many, these challenges can have both a positive and negative impact and the more information and support provided, the more equipped that we can be to deal with the rapid shifts in daily living.
What are the Positive Effects of Social Isolation?
Social isolation can provide further improve connections within families.
Having your family in the same household can reduce worry and anxiety about the well-being of family members that do not live nearby.
Social isolation might even result in increased productivity for some that are working from home: with fewer commutes, there can be more time to focus on work and the application of tasks during the day.
Plus, working in an environment that you are comfortable and familiar with may reduce your stress response and cortisol levels and increase feelings of ease and relaxation. Consequently, resulting in fewer mistakes and more in-depth focus.
What are the Negative Effects of Social Isolation?
Unlike introverts who might as well enjoy social isolation, extroverts who are used to regularly being surrounded by their family, friends, and co-workers, the concept of social isolation can seem overwhelming.
- The immediate and sudden change in lifestyle can be a shock to the system, and some people might feel daunted by the prospect of having to organize their entire day.
- Constantly finding the need to be a source of entertainment for their children can also be challenging.
- Parents have the demands of working from home and therefore do not have the time for home-schooling – which could be a requirement throughout the social-isolation.
- For many parents, this can lead to further complications and concerns.
- Also, many individuals can be prone to loneliness, and if they are already living independently, both the elderly and those vulnerable due to physical or mental health conditions can find social isolation especially difficult.
There can be further adverse health consequences of loneliness, such as:
- lack of sleep, and sleeping disorders
- cognitive decline
- and a decrease in cardiovascular functioning.
It is not only those that are living independently that can grapple with loneliness, but it is also known to have a profound impact upon those that live, among others.
Often, although people can surround us, the lack of depth to the interactions that we exchange can lead us to feel drained and withdrawn.
We must try to inject humor into our communication so that there is a stronger sense of purpose and more relatability between each other.
Innovative Ways to Overcome Social Isolation And Increase Productivity
1. Be Part Of Your Local Community
Having a healthy social circle can make wonder in overcoming the effects of social isolation. Frequent effects of loneliness, and social isolation, are linked to dissatisfied family life, social life, or not being an active member of your local community.
28 percent of those dissatisfied with their family life feel lonely most of the time. Living alone or single can also be a major cause of social isolation.
Trying to be part of a community somehow can help combat these effects of social isolation.
Maintain a friendly work environment, enjoy a virtual date or after-work with your colleagues, or have virtual meetings with your friends, talk to your parents more often, help your neighbors, etc. can help you overcome the effects of social isolation.
By actively contributing to your community, you can get a feeling of inclusiveness, thereby overcoming loneliness during social isolation.
Multi-generation living can also help the elderly to feel less lonely, by co-housing with their children and grandchildren. There is an increase in multigeneration living across the globe.
2. Games and Quizzes
Throughout social isolation, it can be an ideal time to bring all of the households together and spend quality time. Many members of the household might deal with social isolation differently, so it is important to consider how it will impact everyone. Social isolation symptoms can consist of depression and anxiety.
Therefore, games and quizzes can be an ideal way to ensure that everyone can have fun and relax.
Makeshift quizzes can be a brilliant way to get all members of the family together: you can spend time researching and compiling the questions and then sharing them with some snacks and drinks.
If you would prefer an easier alternative, there are plenty of quizzes covering a range of topics online that are easy to print.
Indoor Games To Enjoy With Your Family
Some top indoor games to avoid the impacts of social isolation are:
- Freeze Dance
- Balance beam
- Use Virtual reality games to the rescue
- Or you if you have an Xbox, maybe attempt a karaoke session!
Whatever type of game that you opt for, just ensure that people can let their hair down and enjoy an activity that they might not have spent time doing for a while.
3. Bullet Journaling
Bullet journaling is one of the best methods of personal organization, including to-do lists, reminders, appointments, and other organizational tasks for your day, month, or even a year.
Whether you are working from home or have a weekend spanning out in front of you, bullet-journaling can be an excellent way to increase your productivity.
By gathering all your thoughts, it helps you gain a sense of joy and fulfillment as you monitor what you have achieved across the weeks. It is one of the efficient ways to stop procrastinating and get things done.
There are plenty of online guides and suggestions as to the type of layout and aesthetics that you can use for your journal. By applying a splash of color with your favorite pen set, it will be hard to believe that this organizational task is not just a leisure activity.
Bullet journaling is something that can help with household chores, goal-setting, and generally just getting your life in order.
Instead of being listless and having endless sticky notes and pieces of paper, bullet journaling is a much more productive way to move forwards and become motivated.
Plus, you can even branch out and journal about your feelings, which is a great way to keep social isolation symptoms at bay.
4. Build Upon a Side Hustle or Current Profession
If you are wondering about how to overcome social isolation, you might have considered attempting to learn a new skill. Still, often, people forget about the skills that they already possess and can be further built-upon and developed.
For those that are already in the teaching profession, why not consider stretching your services and provide online tutorials?
There is a range of websites where you can get set up and create a personalized profile demonstrating your skills and experience. Honing these skills can get your dream job.
Also, why not consider even freelancing to teach English as another language or sharing any of your skills online?
All of this expertise can help to overcome social isolation symptoms, along with further developing a hobby or your career.
Websites for Online Tutors
Below are some of the legit sources for online teaching or learning!
When we spend large amounts of time on our own or in a more confined space, it is easy to let our thoughts run away with us and to even become quite self-consumed.
Sometimes, we can end up in negative thinking cycles that only self-sabotage our daily routine, reduce productivity, and prevent us from excelling.
By meditating either early in the morning or in the evening before we go to bed, these can be times to declutter your mind and thoughts.
By practicing meditation, you have control of thoughts that enter your mind and helps you focus more. These things can determine how you shall think throughout the day and how well you might approach the following day when you wake up.
Additionally, following meditation daily, is proven to help calm our minds and identify negative self-talk or thinking patterns. Once we identify these patterns, it is then easier to try to re-calibrate.
Integrating diaphragmatic breathing into your meditation routine can also help to calm the mind and help you take-on stressful tasks throughout the day and reduce social isolation symptoms.
6. Therapeutic Techniques
Without the usual opportunity to go down to the local coffee shop to meet a friend, or go for regular walks outside, some of our coping strategies can become restricted during social isolation.
In essence, it becomes essential that we broaden our emotional toolkit.
There is no better point to try to develop healthier thinking patterns and behavior than when you are required to spend large amounts of time either on your own or during social isolation.
One ideal therapeutic technique for social isolation is REBT: Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy.
The therapy is based upon challenging and questioning thoughts and irrational beliefs that you encounter and then, over time, developing more productive thought patterns and responses.
Designed by Albert Ellis, the ‘ABCDE Model of Emotional Disturbance,’ is an ideal way to work with emotional blocks, unhelpful thinking patterns, and also to cope with a range of situations whereby complex emotions arise.
There are plenty of online worksheets and workbooks that are free to utilize and work through independently or with other family members providing a plethora of useful tips and resources.
7. Household Maintenance – Cleane, Renovate, or Decorate
Finally, after struggling to have a spare 5 minutes at the weekend, during social isolation, there is plenty of time to follow-up with tasks that need completion around the home.
Whether you have pictures that need to be hung up, a pipe under the sink that needs fixing, or a room that requires redecorating, it is the perfect time to work your way around making small improvements.
Additionally, to reduce social isolation effects, by working on any outdoor chores such as painting the fence or carrying out weeding and gardening, this can also mean that you get to spend more time outside and enjoy the fresh air.
Not forgetting simple tasks like cleaning and washing your car, there are plenty of ways to remain productive.
Other household ideas on how to overcome social isolation:
- Renovating your house
- DIY ideas for home decor
- Trying healthy recipes
- Learn mocktail or cocktail recipes to enjoy your Friday night or the weekend
All of the mentioned activities are resourceful and entertaining ways to reduce social isolation effects. Perhaps some of the activities are new and unfamiliar? If so, this might be even more of a reason to give them a go.
Nevertheless, in order to maintain a positive mindset, it is vital that you keep both your mind and body active. Why not spend some time researching new activities that intrigue you and trial some activities that take your fancy?
How are you fighting social isolation and its effects? What are your causes for your social isolation? Share your thoughts in the comments below! You can also subscribe to our website and for more fresh and interesting content.
Key Takeaways On Social Isolation Effects
What is social isolation?
- NCBI defines Social isolation as the lack of social interactions or relationships with friends, family, or colleagues on an individual level, and with “society at large” on a broader level.
What are the symptoms of social isolation?
- AARP highlights four important symptoms of social isolation. Below is the list of the common signs of social isolation:
- Complete boredom
- Lack of interest in everything
- Poor eating habits and nutrition
- Hoarding and cluttering your house
What are the two types of social isolation?
- The first type of social isolation is the one caused by the external environment, forced by the other factors that prevent you from social contacts.
- The best example of this type of social isolation is the forced social distancing caused due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The other type of social isolation is the one caused by one’s own self. If you are not willing to step out of your house and meet people to socialize willingly, then it is a sign of forced social isolation from your end.