We, humans, tend to be extremely social — thriving in a structured society and growing and advancing through our interactions. Most of us, even introverts, feel happier with at least some socializing in our lives. And this mental-health boost is too often ignored or underrated. It’s important that we feed our social needs despite the current isolation of quarantine and social-distancing.
We’re more likely to become depressed or fall into unhealthy behaviors if we don't. Here's how and why to socialize during a quarantine.
We depend on one another for more than just our physical survival. As a species, we thrive on social contact. When we don’t get enough of it, we can become depressed and suffer an increase in health problems. Feelings of isolation and loneliness may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and even dementia. Loneliness is so dangerous that, along with obesity, smoking and hypertension, it’s considered a major risk factor for premature death.
Part of this may have to do with the fact that people who live in perceived isolation are less likely to eat well and exercise. They’re also more likely to smoke and take antidepressants, sedatives and/or sleeping medications. Increased health risks affect all age groups, so it’s important that every one of us does what we can to stay socially active despite the stay-at-home orders and quarantines most of us are facing.
Everyone's social life is likely going to change over the coming weeks or months, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be put aside. It might take a little creativity, but we can continue to nourish this side of ourselves. We have all sorts of incredible interactive technology at our disposal — so let’s put it to good use. Let's take all the social interactions we'd normally have and give them a virtual upgrade.
Here are a few ideas:
Creativity is key. But there is technology to let us connect in a variety of ways. And expensive laptops aren't a requirement, though a smartphone or some type of connected device, probably is. Remember that a lot can be accomplished on an old-fashioned landline. The key is to connect.
As we all work to meet our needs around the limitations of social isolation, we may be tempted to indulge in an extra drink (or other things) a little more often than usual. After all, we don’t have to drive, right? But really, do we want to totally wreck our health? Make sure you aren’t just alleviating boredom or dealing with this situation by adopting unhealthy coping mechanisms with alcohol, tobacco or other things including drugs. Reach out to friends and/or family more often if you fear you’re falling into unhealthy behaviors. Socializing might be an unexpected cure to problematic choices brought on by the doldrums. The last thing any of us want to do is find ourselves in rehab once all this is over.
And it will eventually be over.
But in the meantime, socializing is key to our wellbeing. It’s part of being human. Do what it takes to keep your social life alive and well even when stuck at home. You may not be face-to-face, but you can still have a great time and the effects will help bolster you through this time—and them, too.
Copyright 2020, Wellness.com