Coping While Apart
During normal times, the fall and winter months are wonderful times to gather. So, limiting and changing the way in which we gather with family and friends isn’t easy. It may cause feelings of stress, anxiety or depression. This time of year, it’s important that we practice self-care and support others who may be feeling lonely or isolated.
If you are experiencing stress due to COVID-19 call the Washington Listens line at 833-681-0211 for support and resources.
In a crisis?
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
Crisis Connections: 866-4-CRISIS (866-427-4747)
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
Crisis Connections helps people in physical, emotional, and financial crisis get services they need through their 24-Hour Crisis Line, Teen Link, WA Recovery Help Line, and WA Warm Line.
If you are feeling lonely...
Find the meaning
Think about what it is about this time of year that you enjoy the most, and if it involves other people, open up the conversation early with family and friends about how plans will look different this year. How will we change plans to keep everyone safe? How can we keep traditions alive but in a new way? Sometimes just talking about the situation openly can help you feel less alone.
Connect however possible
Find ways to connect in non-traditional ways with family, friends, or others in your community – they are feeling isolated too! Reach out regularly to others who you care about and seek out online groups where you can connect with new people and share ideas.
Sometimes offering help to others who are feeling lonely can make you feel less lonely yourself. Send a handwritten letter or card (how fun is it to get mail that’s not junk?), drop a care package off at their home, post an encouraging message on a friend’s social post, or send a quick text or instant message telling them why you think they are great.
Give yourself comfort
Make a list of the healthy things that make you feel good, and put the list into action whenever you feel alone. This could include things like taking a walk outside, reading a new library book, taking a bath, meditating, petting your dog, cooking, watching a favorite movie or getting a good night’s sleep.
Make plans for the future
Remind yourself that the pandemic won’t last forever. Make a post-pandemic wish list. What’s the first thing you will do once we can safely return to normal life? What goals can you set for the future?
If you know someone who is struggling...
Reach out. Reassure them that you are there for them. Some ideas for how to show support while maintaining physical distance:
- Set a regular day or time for a check in call or video chat
- Mail them a letter offering words of encouragement and love
- Drop off a homemade treat, takeout from their favorite restaurant, or a favorite book
- Listen without judgment.
- Reassure them that it is ok to feel sad, anxious, and lonely during this time, and that this is not forever. Also remind them there is help available to them if they need it.
- If possible, arrange for both of you to get tested, then self-quarantine for two weeks. Then you can plan a long visit to help give them the support and comfort they may need this time of year.