One of the most severe repercussions of the pandemic, aside from health depletion, financial crisis, social stagnation, and political tension, is rising mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. Most of us are fighting to keep our heads above water, and the thought of drowning is far more distressing in isolation.
I think we all need a reminder that despite feeling detached from our communities and the world as a whole, at least we’re alone together. There’s definitely solidarity in that.
Right now, it feels like there’s no end in sight. That with each new promising trajectory comes another barrier. But perhaps the reason we’re lingering in social isolation this long is to allow us time to reflect further. The pandemic is responsible for great loss and tragedy, but it is also responsible for unbelievable resilience and adaptability.
We’ve been given time to listen to our children, to reshuffle our aspirations, to reinvent ourselves. If normally on a Saturday night you’d be attending a dinner party, seeing a show at your favorite live-music venue, or sipping brews at the neighborhood dive with your friends, use that time instead to do what you never had time to do. If loneliness can be felt in a crowded room, that means the feeling originates from us. And if loneliness originates from us, we can cast it away just as quickly as it appeared.
What is it you were always too busy to do before? Become a master in the kitchen? Learn to play the mandolin? Oil paint landscapes? Was there a book you never got to read? A language or a subject you never got to study? When was the last time you called your grandparents? When was the last time you went for a hike? Most of these activities are virtually free, they just require commitment.
Humans are social creatures and I can’t pretend that burying yourself in creative endeavors will completely subdue the cry of loneliness. But it will help. At the very least, it will make your time not feel squandered. Because while the world may feel like it’s falling apart, you’ll be creating a better You for tomorrow. Then, when humanity finally heals from this and everyone comes back outside to play, you’ll be there, a little wiser, a little stronger, and completely revitalized, ready to take on anything life throws your way.