SARS-CoV-2 virus was declared a global pandemic by The World Health Organization in March 2020. The local and countrywide governments instituted a lot of measures in an attempt to lessen the effect of its spread. Citizens have been asked to exercise social isolation and distancing, which has affected a lot of people in myriad ways. While these are the orders to ‘safe haven in place’, the data concerning the outcomes have been emerging. The major outcome being- possibly elevated loneliness.
Loneliness has a major impact on our physical and mental health, especially among the elderly. While social distancing and isolation is a significant measure to protect high-risk groups such as the elderly during these tough times, it may indeed add more complexity to their health. The reason being – people have become more isolated and lonely due to the pandemic. Besides loneliness, other common mental health problems are emerging such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, insomnia, digestive problems, and symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Although isolation is necessary to limit the spread of the deadly disease, human beings, as social animals, are not modelled to cope with isolation for a very long time. As per what Aristotle said, lack of relationships and connections deter the development of personality and the exercise of reason. The reality is – the situation we are experiencing is in stark contrast with the fundamental nature of human beings. We have started to act as if other people are a risk for us.
This choice was originally made out of fear of an unseen enemy and also of indecisiveness of what to do. And as the pressure and stress in our surroundings continue to increase, we notice that the quality of our relationships with others is deteriorating. Unspoken anger and lasting frustrations are making their way in people’s lives. Persistent isolation is generating disconnection among people who are living alone, thereby increasing the chances of anxiety and depression.
Social isolation is associated with impaired cognitive function, decreased immunity, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and eventual death. In addition, the fear of financial problems and the loss of loved ones can have devastating and understandable consequences. During the coronavirus pandemic, we are forced to fight death in a way that has nothing to do with human civilization. Not being there with the deceased in their last moments, not being able to perform their funeral rites funeral which is essential to the mourning process: all these factors lead to an increased degree of depression, alcoholism, drug abuse and risk-taking behaviours, and in the most extreme cases can also lead to suicide.
Well, it is not so much the impact of the disease on our happiness, but more so the psychological processing ability… As per the researchers, there are some measures available to cope with the situation: Problem-focussed coping: Implementing behaviours to keep us healthy and having a sense of control. Avoidance: Rejecting or distracting from the problem. For example, reading, listening to music, etc. Positive evaluation: Having a positive attitude towards problems.
Seeking help: taking therapies, seeking help from friends, family, closed ones, etc. It seems that the most effective way is to allow people to focus on the important things in their lives, and then make them work with others substantively to obtain the value they want to achieve. Of course, isolation at home also has other problems, such as: Need to keep children busy and deal with financial difficulties. These problems may require your own creative solutions. However, we hope that the above ideas and methods will help solve some of the psychological and social needs you may encounter in the coming weeks and months.