Reducing Isolation Anxiety During Social Distancing

a man with isolation anxiety during social distancing

Are you feeling disconnected or overwhelmed by the amount of uncertainty? It’s likely that your whole sense of normalcy, security, and routine been disrupted right now. Follow these steps to reduce isolation anxiety during social distancing. 

It’s normal and okay to feel messy right now. Allow yourself to feel your feelings and be gentle with yourself. Frustration, anger, fear, anxiety, sadness – all of these emotions are completely normal during overwhelming and unexpected changes. Isolation only exacerbates these emotions and can feel like a trap for your mind. It is important to lean on supports and engage in self-care now more than ever. So what do you do when social distancing interferes with the things that normally support our wellbeing?  Follow these tips for reducing isolation and distress during a challenging time. 

Tips on reducing isolation anxiety during social distancing:

  • Dive into Activities You Enjoy
  • Nourish Existing Relationships
  • Make New Connections
  • Set Boundaries
  • Take Advantage of Virtual Therapy

Is toxic stress wreaking havoc on your mind and body right now? Try engaging in movement and activities that fill up your cup. Ask yourself what kind of movement you need right now. Do you need to feel energized? You can still go for a walk, go to a park, ride your bike, lift weights at home, or hike while practicing social distancing. Or maybe you need your body to slow down? Try movement that slows your heart rate like yoga, stretching, and deep belly breathing . Many places are offering free online workout, yoga, and meditation classes you can do from home making it easier than ever to access and enjoy with others. 

Nourish your Existing Relationships 

Invite existing friends and family to connect over the phone or video call. This is a hard time for all of us and we can offer each other support or breaks from the chaos.  Reach out to your strong friend, those you know in vulnerable populations, or people who are especially isolated right now and set aside time each day to deepen your relationships. We can all offer each other moments of authentic connection, empathy, laughter, or even distraction. 

Make New Connections

If you have limited connections, this is a great opportunity to build new relationships as many are looking to find people to talk to and engage with. Many people are already posting and  coordinating virtual activities, all you have to do is reply to join. Or if you’re feeling more outgoing, post on your social media and invite others to reach out to you for virtual lunch hour, craft night, or to share a skill you can teach.  Take this chance to find others who have common interests or hobbies and want to spend an hour or two connecting over them. 

Set boundaries 

For some, the flood of information and amount of options for virtual contact may feel overwhelming leading to a bigger desire to isolate or shut out the world. Know your limits. Reducing isolation isn’t just about increasing contact with others, it’s also about being mindful about what feels right for yourself.  It is ok to take breaks from the news, mute group chats, or voice your needs for boundaries around COVID19 talk . Try saying something like “I’m feeling a little stressed out getting all this information, I want to support one another and stay connected but can we agree to limit sharing news info unless it seems critical. Let’s set up a time tonight to do something fun to get a break from all of this” 

Find your Balance – Lead with Self Compassion

Honor what amount of balance feels right for you!  Step back from all-or-nothing urges. It is important for our wellbeing to engage in social connection but you do not need to every second of the day. Listen to your emotions and needs, allow yourself to rest, be cared for, and ask for help when needed.

If you’re feeling flooded by isolation anxiety during social distancing, or confused about what to do right now, we are here to support you and help you navigate this challenging time. For more COVID-19 resources visit our google page here: https://sites.google.com/denvermhc.com/coronavirus/dmhc-updates

We offer virtual appointments for all of our services, we accept insurance (including medicaid), and many clinicians have immediate availability. Ready to schedule your free consultation? Fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch within one business day. Not quite ready? Use this link to review our team members’ profiles.

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