“I don’t want to go out” or “No, You can’t see your friends” can be a sign that you are socially withdrawing out of more than just an abundance of precaution. You may be self-isolating out of fear.
Even before COVID19 and social distancing, many of the children and adults I hear from and work with struggled with loneliness and with real intimacy and connection.
Are You Self-Isolating Out of Fear?
Do you find that even if you feel like connecting, that you stop yourself?
Do you decline invitations in person or virtually, eat and spend most of your day alone and find the thought of being social too daunting? If so, it is critical to figure out why. Many people trying to be safe and responsible or who have trouble connecting to begin with find it hard to reach out. How do I do this? What can I say? As time goes on it gets harder. And life becomes less about the joy that connection brings us as social animals and more about drudgery, duties, and tasks. My concern is that long term isolation can lead to depression, addiction, anxiety, mood swings, self-harm, and that people want to hear from you. And if you struggle, then so many of us professionals, books and resources are here and want to help you. Connection and reaching out is hard right now. It’s easy to slip off our radar and for many it’s easier to stay in their cocoon. Reaching out to connect feels hard. (Please scroll below for suggested resources)
Humans are Social Creatures
Our human brains are wired for connection so social isolation can become a healthy hazzard. We rely on each other, exchange knowledge and share community. Socially isolating means you are cut off from Human C – What Dr. Hallowell calls, the Other Vitamin C – Human Connection. Lack of human connection removes you from the resources you need, and can land you in a fatigue that is hard to extract yourself from.
Signs of Social Withdrawal
- Not calling anyone or answering your phone
- Not engaging with others even when invited
- Staying indoors all day and night
- Justifying working from home as a reason to hide indoors
- Shooting quick texts and emails rather than having a live conversation
- Becoming critical or even angry at others’ beliefs, behaviors, sanitary measures, etc.
- Refusing to allow children or family members to socialize in-person
- Increased anger, depression, guilt, boredom
Healthy Social Suggestions:
- Don’t keep your thoughts inside. Discuss your concerns with a trusted family member, friend or professional
- Take a chance and start a conversation with someone new.
- Join a social app, Meetup, chat, etc. to share your thoughts and communicate with like-minded people
- Try to avoid the news or discussions that center solely around COVID-19
- Get outside! Look at the sky, breath fresh air, take a walk
- Practice meditation or yoga to develop deep thinking and focus
- Try to figure out why you are reclusive without judging