Loneliness: Staying Well During COVID-19

The United States and most of the world are entering into the sixth month of the COVID-19 pandemic. Re-openings and returns to "normalcy" appear to vary greatly from country to country, from state to state, and from one locality to another. And with folks embracing differing belief systems around the nature of the virus and how they choose to live their lives, there is significant variance surrounding the degree of suffering from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse / addiction. However, with most of my clients as well as with family and friends, many individuals seem to be struggling with one painful emotion on some level - loneliness.  

For today's blog, I was going to give you a few tips or tools for helping with your feelings of loneliness. But, I think most of you know what you need. In addition, out of respect for your beliefs and the COVID guidelines within your area,  there are no "blanket" recommendations which would work for everyone. Thus, I want to encourage you with this thought.

Loneliness does not have to be a stagnant state of being. 
Loneliness is an emotional gift - a time for internal reflection and strengthening yourself .

Over the past six months, I have witnessed most of my clients really growing, shifting, and making remarkable progress. Not only have they been committed to their recovering processes, but they have taken their time of "aloneness" to dig deep into their thoughts and experiences. They have discovered that during this period of isolation and loneliness, they are free of noise and interference which often distract from honest self-reflection and assessment. They have not been stunted by their loneliness; they have strengthened themselves because of it.

Although there are numerous stories I could share (anonymously), one client's journey has been inspiring. Because her faith is an important part of her way of being, she has embraced her time of solitude by reading the entire Bible (twice during the six months), praying several times a day, walking several miles every day, and viewing her favorite movies and TV shows. As a single retired woman, she misses her connections and travels. However, because of her loneliness, she has turned inward, self-assessed, and bravely addressed issues around her unhealthy eating patterns - something she has avoided all her life. Over the past several weeks, I have had the privilege of listening to this caterpillar's story, as her wings continue to emerge and strengthen.

In closing, I want to share the most important gift of loneliness. COVID -19 will pass. It may still take a while, but we will move forward. And when we are on the other side of it, how you navigated through it and how you utilized this "pause in your life," will be a testament to you and to your wellness. You may not need to address serious mental health issues, but perhaps you are feeling stuck, dissatisfied with relationships or a living situation or with work. Use this quiet gift for sorting and sifting through these struggles. Then, begin formulating a plan for change. If you need support, seek it out. Or, maybe you need to to get to really know yourself better... and learn how to love yourself along the way. 

There is still time.  

Did you settle for loneliness and allow it to steal your time? 
Or did you spend time alone to experience, appreciate, and love yourself?

Believe and Be Well 


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