Technology Defeats Isolation
“This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly. This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized. It’s going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that.”
That was a quote from over the weekend from Surgeon General Jerome Adams.
As of right now, 45 states have told residents to stay at home because of COVID-19 — with 41 of them being full stay-at-home orders.
This is going to be tough.
Humans inherently are social beings. When together, we seek commonality and express that in a variety of ways.
For instance, if you’re talking to someone and want to know if they’re paying attention, cross your arms.
If they cross theirs naturally, it shows they’re interested in what you have to say. It’s a natural tick that nearly everyone has.
But now people have been forced into isolation. And the effects have already been seen.
A poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that already 32% of Americans felt a negative mental impact from COVID-19 — with 14% showing a major negative impact.
And that was back in mid-March. Before St. Patty’s Day. Before major stay-at-home orders were put in place by states.
It’s only going to get worse…
Technology to the Rescue
But the good thing is there’s hope.
In today’s interconnected world, we’re more than ever equipped to deal with isolation.
A hundred years ago when the Spanish flu broke out in America, only 10 million phones were in operation in the United States.
And calling was expensive.
A coast-to-coast call back in 1915 for only three minutes would cost you $500 in today’s money.
But an online video call is essentially free.
Services like Skype, Zoom and even Facebook allow you to call your friends and loved ones with just the click of a button.
All you need on either end is an internet connection.
If you don’t have a reliable in-house internet connection, consider an app for your phone.
Often times, desktop applications will have mobile alternatives.
And further options like Google Hangouts, WhatsApp and FaceTime can bring you together.
It’ll never beat being there with someone physically.
But studies have shown that seeing someone rather than just hearing them helps reduce loneliness and social isolation.
When you see someone and can exchange emotions, your brain releases endorphins — one of the four happy drugs.
And though more are released when you are in physical contact, a video call can offer similar social interactions not found if you aren’t seeing the other person.
Take Care of Yourself
Do yourself a favor while we’re in isolation and continue to take care of yourself.
Recent polling has found that substance abuse is up, physical activity is down and unhealthy diets are becoming more popular.
Don’t fall into bad habits during this time.
Stress will rise, and there’s a short list of things to do to cope from the CDC:
- Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Personally, I unwind by renting a boat and taking it out on the water. Or by tending to my garden. Something to get me outside to enjoy the weather.
To a bright future,