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If you are feeling down, lonely, or depressed during the pandemic, you are not alone. The increase in social distancing is affecting people of all ages. Social distancing means keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not from your household in order to avoid catching and spreading the virus.

But while social distancing has kept many safe from the virus, it has not kept them completely healthy.  According the CDC, Center of Disease Control, mental health is an important part of overall health.

With isolation on the rise so did the emotional toll the pandemic has taken on people. Social Pro, a national psychology survey organization conducted a survey stating, about twice as many people are lonely during the corona-virus situation.   

Loneliness, besides being an important mental health issue, has physical effects on the human body. To put things in perspective, studies have shown that feeling isolated is as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes every day. It affects the human body twice as much as obesity does.  

The scary statistics piled on top of the pandemic can feel even more overwhelming. However is important to take care of your mental health during times we are facing. Here are some effective and creative ways to manage loneliness:   

  • Keep in contact. To fight loneliness, keeping in contact with people is the most important thing to do. Check-in with family through video calls, send a text to a friend, or write a letter to someone you love.   
  • Journal your feelings. It can help you clear your head, and make important connections between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • Do some at-home workouts via YouTube videos, or just some simple stretching. The physical benefits of exercise improving the physical condition are known to help in fighting disease.  
  • Work on learning a new skill through an online course — many colleges (even Harvard) are offering some of their classes for free online. As well, there apps to learn something new such as Khan Academy  
  • Do something creative like drawing, painting, or playing an instrument. 
  • Schedule a virtual hangout with friends or family.  
  • Go for a walk. Simply going for a walk provides the benefits of meditation combined with the benefits of exercise.  
  • Lend a helping hand. San Antonio has various ways you can help in the city. As well OLLU has many ways you can help around campus. Service Coordinator, David Espinoza,  at the Center of Service-Learning and Volunteerism at OLLU states, “Our vOLLUnter Unity Council will try to promote volunteering opportunities in the future. Students are welcomed if they have an idea on how track and do more things together.” 

COVID-19 is making loneliness easier to talk about, and it is helping encourage people who struggle with it to seek help and reach out to connections they have. Humans have always used connections with each other for survival, so acknowledging the effect loneliness has on people, is essential for everyone’s well being. 

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