How Technology Can Help You Prevent Loneliness During Social Isolation
Updated: May 24
The world has been growing lonelier for years. This isn't something unique to America, it's happening all over the world. Loneliness has been a growing problem for aging populations, but now it's touching all of us.
With social isolation being followed across the country and throughout the world, more people are feeling lonely. For those lucky enough to be socially isolating with their families, they have some human interaction, but according to the Wall Street Journal, almost 38 million people live alone (WSJ Article).
While lone living is not the only reason for loneliness, right now it's certainly a leading factor when everyone is in isolation. Whether you're isolating alone or not, you may be struggling with loneliness. Luckily, technology can help you through this difficult time. Loneliness increases the risk of a variety of health issues from depression to heart disease and dementia. Our social connections are crucial and the ability to foster them digitally is going to be your saving grace right now. There are a wide variety of options available to you if you'd like to use technology to keep you connected. While social media is the most obvious way to chat with your loved ones, you can keep in closer contact with tools like Zoom, Meetup or Houseparty.
• A Movie Marathon If you're a big movie lover and often head to the movies with friends, then a Netflix Party might be the solution to your loneliness issues. Netflix Party allows you to link up, chat while you watch, and it allows you to sync your playback with everyone else in the group.
You can mute the movie to discuss a plot point or just sit back and enjoy dinner and/or cocktails together while you watch. It means that no matter how near or far your friends are, you can link-up for a movie marathon.
• Digital Dinner Parties As the evenings pass on, it's easy to feel sad about canceled plans and missed opportunities to spend time with friends. However, there is nothing to stop you from carrying out your plans a little differently. For example, throw on your glad-rags, fire up the laptop, and connect with your friends. Digi-dining is growing in popularity so what are you waiting for? Whether you all cook the same recipe or just turn up with a pizza, sitting down to eat with friends over Zoom, Skype or FaceTime is a great way to beat loneliness.
• An Online Course Many online courses are available for free from websites like FutureLearn. How does this help you beat loneliness? Well, not only do you get to learn something interesting about a subject that you enjoy, there are often chats for the other people in the group. There's no pressure, though, many of the chats happen in the comments section for each chapter or course. You can move at your own speed, as many courses are fully released. There is also EdX which has thousands of courses from universities all over the world. You can pay a small fee to obtain a certificate once you finished, which might look great on your resume.
• Call, Text, Email, Chat Take the time to call your loved ones. It doesn't need to be a long chat, but just checking in is good for your mental health (and theirs). You can boost your mood by texting your friends and family regularly or emailing or chatting on social media.
No, it isn't the same as seeing people in person, but it is a clever way to use technology to your advantage in this situation.
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