Isolation can be detrimental to your emotional health. If you have struggled with addiction, it may be appealing to use substances to cope with loneliness. If you feel lonely, there are ways in which you can improve your mood and feel more connected.
Isolation During Covid
Shutdowns and social distancing have loneliness to be a common experience. Covid regulations that seem never-ending amidst the cold weather only worsen things. While these safety measures during the pandemic were put in place to keep you physically safe, there is a toll that isolation takes on your mental health.
The constant isolation during the pandemic has taken a significant toll on the addiction recovery community. Relapses during 2020 were high, and record-breaking overdoses were recorded while the United States battled an opioid epidemic, along with a global pandemic. Isolation is indeed a significant enemy to sobriety. Addiction thrives with isolation. Many struggling with addiction tend to isolate themselves independently, either out of shame or fear. Due to all these components, you may struggle to survive without support systems and the presence of loved ones.
The Difference Between Alone and Lonely
Being physically alone is not the same thing as feeling lonely. For example, you can be in a room full of people and still feel alone. Loneliness does not just come from physical isolation, though that can certainly contribute. Instead, it can come from feeling emotionally isolated.
Ways to Combat Loneliness
#1. Reaching Out To Loved Ones
A text conversation or a quick phone call can work wonders in combating loneliness. You can feel lonely if you are not reaching out to your social circle often enough. Loneliness can often manifest due to being exceptionally busy or being in your head too much.
Alone time can sometimes leave you wondering how long it has been since you have interacted with someone else. During the winter and covid, your coworkers or roommates are often the only people you may interact with. Make an effort to reach out to your loved ones, even for a short conversation.
If you have the time, set up frequent meetings. If it is safe to do so, get coffee together every Sunday or when your loved ones have off. You can even set up a weekly virtual gathering through a video call. Talk about what is going on in your life, and be honest about your feelings.
#2. Invest in a Pet
If you live alone, investing in a pet might be a great idea. Only invest in an animal if you have a stable income and can support the animal for the entire length of its life. If you are able to take on this responsibility, having a pet can help you when you are at your loneliest. Keep in mind allergies, lease rules if you live in a rental space, and the level of time and care you can commit to when taking on a pet.
#3. Talk to Your Therapist
If you are feeling alone, there is a chance that it could be mental health-related. Feeling alone can be a sign of depression, especially if the feeling is intense or sudden. A therapist can help you develop a plan to find the source of this feeling and help you feel less alone.
#4. Go For a Walk
Physically going where people are can help combat loneliness. If this feeling is due to being physically alone, then being around people might be just what you need. Taking a walk can help if you feel cooped up in your house, which can be the case during the winter months. Many forget to take walks when it is cold outside, and if you work during the day, it can be hard to get out even when it is not as cold. Take a short walk during your lunch break or before going home after work.
#5. Join a Support Group
These groups meet weekly and often talk about sensitive subjects, but they can help you feel less emotionally alone. If you feel alone, a group that shares the same issue can help you if you feel like you are the only person who feels the way you do. Support groups like A.A. and N.A. allow those with an addiction to talk to others who understand what they are going through. There are many different types of support groups for many different experiences. If you feel alone in your struggles, joining a support group for that issue can prove beneficial.
Feelings of loneliness will only make your mental health issues worse. Isolation can often lead to relapse for those who are in recovery. Those who are struggling with addiction might feel tempted to fill the void with substance use. The best cure for loneliness is reaching out to members of your support system. If symptoms of loneliness are getting worse, it is time to talk to a medical healthcare professional about taking the next steps toward treatment. Winter and Covid-19 have added to the inevitability of loneliness. Fortunately, there are many healthy ways to cope that will not jeopardize your sobriety.
Our staff is here to help. Do not hesitate to reach out if you need someone to talk to–a simple call may save your life. Our caring staff at Jaywalker Lodge is only one phone call away. For more information about what you can do when you are feeling alone, please call us today at (866) 529-9255.
As Chief Executive Officer Bill provides leadership and manage all day-to-day operations of Jaywalker Lodge, an extended care residential addiction treatment program for adult men.