Pandemic Loneliness: How to seek more connection

Adapted from Making Life Easier webinar

Loneliness and lack of social connection has been amplified throughout the pandemic. Whether you have been working from home or on the front lines, we have all had been more distanced from our coworkers and community, and loneliness can set in and take over our lives. Even as things begin to open, there are still a lot of uncertainties. It is normal to grieve the social life we once had. Regardless of your circumstances, or how isolated you feel, there are ways to increase connectivity in your life.

Difference between being alone and loneliness

Being alone:

  • Sense of contentment
  • Space for creativity and personal growth
  • No negative feelings

Loneliness:

  • State of sadness or anxiety
  • Due to gap between the social connection you want and need and the social connection you have

Connect with Self to combat loneliness

The deeper you connect with yourself the deeper you can connect with others. Here are some ways to connect with yourself to withstand times of less social connection:

  • Self-compassion
    • Monitor your self-talk
    • Talk to yourself as if you are a loved on
  • Increase self-knowledge
    • Make a list of 25 things that bring you joy and incorporate more into your life
    • Know your values. Read through this list of values and identity the top 10 that resonate with you.
  • Self-care
    • Nurture yourself and show yourself that you value yourself
  • Mindfulness

Connecting with others

When you’ve connected with yourself you can show up for others in an authentic and deeper way. Rather than showing up to seek validation, you will know your own worth.

We all need three dimensions of connection to feel fully connected and thrive:

We all need three dimensions of connection to feel fully connected and thrive:

  1. Intimate: An emotional bond with a partner or confidant, where you can truly be yourself
  2. Social or relational: A group of friends, supportive, community
  3. Collective: Network of people who share interests, beliefs or meaningful work

Recognizing loneliness in others

The most apparent indicator of loneliness is withdrawal. Feelings of loneliness can validate a self-limiting belief that one is not worthy of connection. If you see this happening with someone in your community, reach out to let them know you are thinking about them. It can be helpful to share qualities about them that you value so they can feel seen for their authentic selves.

Ways to foster connection virtually

One benefit of virtual connection is that you can attend events and get to know people in any location.

  • Join clubs, courses, or support groups via Zoom or Facebook groups.
  • Arrive early and stay afterwards, make use of private messages in chat to connect with people
  • On social media, don’t just scroll and like, reach out and engage with people, comment and direct message
  • Be vulnerable in these settings

Strategies to combat loneliness

  • Aim to get at least 15 minutes every day connecting with a loved one
  • Give your full attention to others – no distractions and no multi-tasking
  • Try to incorporate a minimum of five minutes a day in solitude, naming three things you are grateful for in your life or like about yourself
  • Be of service to others (for example, reaching out and giving love and attention to other people)

Extra support if you need it

If you find you are struggling and need extra support, King County has resources available to you.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free, confidential counseling service for work-related issues. You can make an appointment by contacting 206-263-8733 or HRDEAP@kingcounty.gov.

Making Life Easer (MLE) offers eight free counseling sessions for non-work-related issues as well as legal and financial services, and childcare services. Access the program here (username: kingcounty) or call 1-888-874-7290.

One thought on “Pandemic Loneliness: How to seek more connection

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  1. Within the “Connect with Self to combat loneliness” Section there is a bulleted list under “Increase self-knowledge”
    This bulleted item: “Know your values. Read through this values wheel and identity the top 10 that resonate with you” the Values Wheel is not posted anywhere on the site. Are you able to put a link to the ValuesWheel?

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