How to Combat Loneliness During Social Distancing

By Anne Peters, LMFT

Hello again! I hope you are all healthy and doing OK, taking it one moment at a time. “Social distancing” is a term we have become too familiar with over the last couple of months. We all understand the purpose – to keep ourselves and others safe – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its own hardships. Whether you live on your own or you have a house full of people, loneliness is a very real feeling during this time. Human beings are social creatures. We are accustomed to being able to visit our families whenever we want, plan a dinner out with friends, or simply go to the store/gym/salon/library at the drop of a dime. Loneliness hits all of us at one time or another. Here are some ideas to help combat these feelings.

1. Accept feeling lonely is OK (and warranted!): Allow yourself to feel and reflect on why this feeling is happening. What/who is it that you are missing? Journal about it. We are in unprecedented times that none of us have lived through before. Don’t push these feelings away. Notice your feeling as it is, understand it, and then use some strategies to make the feeling a little less strong.

2. Connect. Connect. Connect.: Perhaps one of the greatest blessings we have during this pandemic is our technology. We can use our phones, tablets, and computers to reach someone in seconds. Reach out to three people a day. Reach out to your childhood friend via Facebook Messenger, reach out to a neighbor via phone call, or reach out to a family member via video chat. Three connections a day (at minimum!) will help to feel the support around us, even if it’s from afar. Odds are that they are in need of connection just as much as you are. My mom, sister, and I have all downloaded the app “Houseparty” on our phones. We get to video chat and there are options of games to play together. Laughter helps!

3. Thirty minutes of connection: We are busy. Taking care of tasks around the house (does anyone else’s washing machine seem to always be going?), taking care of children and loved ones, working from home, reading the news… all of this takes time. Thirty minutes of our day (again, at the minimum) should be reserved for connections. Make a plan to call your mom each night at 7 p.m., plan to sit with your partner and talk, or plan to FaceTime with a friend. Schedule the time for connection. You deserve it, and you need it.

4. Common ground with common interests: With social media as advanced as it is, you can search and find a group of people with like-minded interests in no time. Do a search, join a group, engage in posts, and make some connections! It feels good (and calming) to talk about topics that interest us.

5. Seek professional support: If the feelings of loneliness become too strong or start to greatly impact your day-to-day life, reach out and get connected with a therapist. Therapists across the state have moved to telehealth options, so you can receive therapy services without leaving the comfort and safety of your home. We are here, ready to support you! You can visit to get started.

How are you managing your loneliness? Let us know what has worked for you by sharing your ideas with Stay healthy and stay safe. We are all on this journey together!

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