Finding Peace in the Chaos
Mental health has become a major topic, especially in light of the impact of COVID-19 on children, adults, individuals, couples, and families. One byproduct of the pandemic is isolation in which some people have become accustomed to staying distant from others. Yet, even the most introverted individuals will eventually crave and need social interaction. At the start of the pandemic the primary focus was on containing the virus, so most manners of social interaction were frowned upon and in some circumstances were considered illegal. As one can imagine, this caused significant issues for people who love to interact with family, friends, and even strangers. Changes in the ways we communicate, celebrate, and even congregate have been impacted by a need to keep our distance.
Close interactions can bring about peace, especially during chaotic moments, but what do you do when the most chaotic time you have ever experienced in your life requires you to stay away from the very people in whom you find comfort? For those living with family members, quarantining may have strengthened bonds, but it may have also tested them. For individuals living alone, obtaining those all-important close connections while also being safe has posed challenges, especially for the elderly. People have had to ask themselves, is there an acceptable risk? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer, and people have, and some continue to struggle with the need for social interaction to help their mental health, but battle concerns of contracting the virus that is still claiming lives. With advances in the medical field, people now have the option to get vaccinated, which offers hope in getting back to some sense of normalcy, however, some people may still be reluctant to integrate back into society or to rekindle those close connections due to anxiety and fear about possibly getting sick.
In light of the challenges that social isolation during the pandemic can cause, such as feelings of depression, anxiety, loneliness, etc., some interactions that may be helpful with minimal risk are:
· Phone conversations
· Electronic communication via platforms such as Zoom, Facetime, Google Duo, Google Meets, etc.
· Physical conversations outside in open spaces, such as parks.
· Interactions indoors with masks and excellent ventilation for brief moments
Starting small is key. Taking small steps toward in-person interactions may lead to it becoming easier over time. However, if a person feels that he or she is still struggling with the desire or willingness to connect with others despite taking considerable precautionary measures, then counseling may be a way to help address any feelings or potential roadblocks that may be causing distress and apprehension. Finding peace in the chaos sometimes require help from a professional, and there are trained counselors who are more than happy to help.
If you desire more information about counseling, please contact our office. Also please feel free to read more about the effects of the pandemic on social interaction at the Health Affairs website, below.