Many of us experienced social isolation during the recent pandemic. And none of us will deny that those days and weeks were very hard. Thankfully, the pandemic is over, and life for most of us has returned to normal.
But for some people, social isolation does not go away; it is now part of their “normal” existence.
Common Causes of Social Isolation
There are a variety of circumstances that cause people to be isolated from others or to choose to isolate themselves:
- An abusive relationship – People in toxic relationships often choose to avoid contact with friends and family because they wish to hide their reality from others.
- Grief – It is common to isolate oneself after losing a loved one. This is particularly true for many seniors who have lost many loved ones and friends.
- Mental health issues – Anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem can often result in a desire to isolate oneself from the rest of society.
- Physical challenges – Those with limited mobility or other physical challenges may decide life is easier and safer at home.
The Effects of Social Isolation on Your Health
We know there is a strong mind-body connection. How we feel emotionally affects how we feel physically. Studies are now revealing how social isolation can negatively impact our health. Here are just some of the effects on your health:
- Reduced immune function
- Trouble sleeping (which leads to inflammation and disruption of hormones)
- Poor cardiovascular health
- Poor cognitive function
- Greater chance of stroke
- Decreased wound healing
- Increased risk of dementia
- Higher risks of premature mortality
Coping With Social Isolation
If you are isolated from others for any reason, it is important to recognize you may be suffering mentally, emotionally, and/or physically. Here are some ways you can cope with the situation:
- Practice self-care
- Get outside
- Reconnect with hobbies and interests
- Get help
If you would like to speak to someone about your anxiety or depression caused by isolation and the reasons for the isolation, please reach out to me. I offer online therapy for those who feel more comfortable accessing help from home.