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Pandemic Pastimes

How can you overcome the feelings that stem from isolation, with or without a pandemic driving your social separation?

The Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has come crashing down on us in the U.S. like an elephant sitting on your chest. Sick or not-sick-yet seems to be the prevailing angst of the nation, while thousands on the front lines struggle to arrest the tsunami impact of the deadly viral infection or serve those who limp along in socially-distanced lives.

I'm on Day 10 of remaining sheltered-in-place in my home, except for one trip to the grocery store and daily (except when raining) walks or jogs, or dog walks around the neighborhood. Meanwhile, my life patterns haven't changed that much: I work from home as a consultant and coach, and the business marketing classes I teach at two local universities have simply moved online. The biggest change for me has been to spend even more time and attention at my desk and computer or phone, so the daily walks are a welcome respiteeven if I don't have anywhere else to go right now.

Yesterday, I heard loud music and laughter while out on one of these walks, and stared in wonderment when three teenage girls whizzed by happy as a lark and singing at the top of their lungs, driving a golf cart.

I didn't have my cell phone camera with me at the time, or I would have snapped a picture of them, or asked them to slow down or stop, and pose. The stock image I have posted here does not look much different than they did. (Watermarks on photo, for now, sorry.)

Anyway, the reason for my post today is to share a few words about how some folks are struggling with the mandate to relax, stay home, disrupt your hamster wheel in the zone. And how others are as happy as clams.

Social isolation is a real condition. Even without a pandemic to drive it.

Contributing factors of social isolationwith or without government-ordered social distancing to protect public health—are many and are real. Some of the feelings that can stem from the separation can be lonelines, fear and mistrust of others, low self esteem, false bravado, anxiety, depression, conflict with others, and more. Circumstances that contribute to social isolation can include family or health issues where a person has a tendency to isolate themselves to avoid social interaction out of fear that they would be judged or stigmatized.