I was recently asked to write a blog on isolation. Where do I begin? Where do I stop?
Given the recent reality of our world and COVID 19, feelings of isolation, loneliness, aloneness, and solitude are abundant. I, like many clients I have met with during the past week, are experiencing more anxiety than normal due to the current circumstances. The mandatory closures, social distancing, self-isolation and quarantines are truly something I have never had to deal with before. COVID 19 is an infliction none of us have had to deal with before. There is an eeriness in our world and it is uncomfortable. These are extraordinary times of uncertainty for most of us.
To quote a friend, “This fucking sucks”.
In this post I will briefly discuss the topic of isolation and provide a few helpful suggestions for people who are struggling with feelings of separation and isolation at this time.
As I mentioned in my first blog post, we are social beings and we need to feel connected to others. It is necessary for our health, well-being and survival. Scientific literature and research has also well documented the vital importance of physical touch for health and well-being, and arguably for survival.
I have had moments during the past week where I notice the sharp twinge in my body when I must distance myself from someone. I seen my aunt at the local grocery store and we both wanted to hug each other but we couldn’t, and didn’t. I felt this distance in my body. I notice a poke of fear as I see sign after sign in the grocery store limiting the quantities of food basics. I notice the people wiping door handles, cart handles, washing their hands and using hand sanitizer. I notice much less traffic on the roads and more people walking. The low price of gasoline. No sports, no Maple Leafs and no Tim & Sid. And the list goes on. This has had an impact.
I heard from a client this week how cut-off and alone she feels. She cannot go to her job or her church. She cannot see her support worker or volunteer at the local senior’s home. She is now even more disconnected from the world than she was before COVID 19. I felt her sense of fear, almost panic, of the unknown and what is yet to come. These are beyond difficult times for a lot of people.
For some people the social distancing and isolation won’t feel much different to them. So many people live in isolation now, and before COVID 19.
I would like to share what I have learned on distinguishing between isolation, loneliness, and solitude.
So what do I, we, do?
I would like to offer a few helpful suggestions for anyone finding themselves being negatively affected by the current circumstances:
Lastly, I would like to share one of my favorite Native American sayings called Little Hummingbird.
Once there was a great forest fire,
and all the birds and animals rushed to escape.
Little Hummingbird went to the river
and collected a drop of water.
The other birds laughed.
“What are you doing?” they asked.
Little Hummingbird replied,
“I am doing what I can.”
With strength and loving kindness.
“Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgement of the facts of a situation. Then deciding what you're going to do about it” (Kathleen Casey Theisen).
“You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf” (Joseph Goldstein).
“Acceptance is a letting-go process. You let go of your wishes and demands that life can be different. It's a conscious choice” (Gary Emery).
“Acceptance is observation of life and suspension of judgment about whether what is happening is good or bad, right or wrong” (Ron Smotherman).
Acceptance is more easily said than done. For a helpful article or to learn more about practicing radical acceptance visit