Carrying the distance
Under normal circumstances, the fall and winter months are a wonderful time to get together with others, so limiting and changing the way we meet with family and friends is not easy. It can cause feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression. At this time of year, it is important that we pay attention to our personal needs and support others who may feel lonely or isolated.
If you are experiencing stress due to COVID-19, call the Washington Listens line at 833-681-0211 for support and resources.
Are you in crisis?
National Network for Suicide Prevention: 800-273-8255
Crisis Connections: 866-4-CRISIS (866-427-4747)
Crisis text line: Text the word HOME to 741741
Crisis Connections helps people going through a physical, emotional and / or financial crisis to get the services they need through its 24-hour crisis line, as well as Teen Link, WA Recovery Help Line and WA Warm Line .
If you feel lonely …
Talk about it
Think about what you enjoy the most about this time of year, and if it involves other people, start talking with your family and friends about how their plans will be different this year. How will we change our plans to keep everyone safe? How can we keep our traditions alive, but in a new way? Sometimes just talking about the situation openly can help you feel less alone.
Make contact with others as possible
Find non-traditional ways to connect with family, friends, or others in your community; they too feel isolated. Communicate regularly with other people who are important to you and look for groups online where you can connect with new people and share ideas.
Don’t forget to be nice
Sometimes offering help to others who are lonely can make yourself feel less alone. Send a handwritten letter or card. Leave a package with a personal detail at the house of someone you love, leave a message of encouragement on a friend’s social network, or send a text message telling them why you love them so much.
Remember to pamper yourself
Make a list of the healthy things that make you feel good and put it into action when you feel lonely. This could include things like going for a walk, reading a new book, taking a bath, meditating, petting your dog, cooking, watching a favorite movie, or a simple night’s rest.
Make plans for the future
Remember that the pandemic will not last forever. Make a list of the things you want to do after the pandemic passes. What is the first thing you will do when we can return to normal life safely? What goals can you set for the future?
If you know someone who is going through a bad time …
Contact that person. Assure them that you are there to listen to them. Some ideas on how to show support by maintaining physical distance:
- Set a day or time for a call or video chat
- Send them a letter offering words of encouragement and love
- Make something sweet to deliver to their home, send them takeout from their favorite restaurant or a special book
- Listen to the other person without judgment
- Reassure them that it is okay to feel sad, anxious, and alone during this time, and that this is not forever. Also remind them that help is available if they need it.
- If possible, arrange for both you and them to get tested for COVID-19 and then self-quarantine for two weeks. Then they can plan a meeting or visit to provide the support they may need at this time of year.