Healthy Living: Combating Loneliness During ‘Stay At Home’ Order

Mar 29, 2020

SEATTLE — Maintaining healthy social connections is essential to our emotional and mental well-being.

Dr. Jim Polo, the behavioral health medical director for Regence BlueShield, says unhealthy – or a lack of – social connections can lead to anxiety, depression, loneliness and fear.

Here’s what he says you can do to combat those feelings while being isolated.

“Use your social media to actually interact with other people. If you’re spending a lot of time on the internet or on social media websites just reading about what is going on or what other people are doing, then you’re not really connecting to other people.”

He says you can talk or text with multiple people at a time. Set up a meeting as a group, and use video chat if possible so you really feel connected.

Dr. Polo says be sure while you’re connecting, you are having meaningful conversations. Studies have shown that people do better and feel better when they have conversations that are meaningful instead of just small talk.

“So talk about how your routine has changed, what are you doing that’s new? What have you read recently? How are you handling being at home all of the time? It’s OK to talk about feelings. It’s OK to talk about how you’re coping.”

Finally, Dr. Polo says be a positive force in all of this and be encouraging for people in your life.

“Think about how you can help others feel better. Think about how you can encourage and inspire them. This will help them and it will help you too.”

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