2020….. wow you were quite the year. You brought Covid, massive wildfires, and murder hornets. You brought light to all kinds of social injustices (which was LONG overdue) that caused protesting like we haven’t seen in the US in a LONG time. We saw millions of Americans contract Covid and hundreds of thousands die. Millions of Americans lost their jobs due to the closures caused by the virus. I’m not here to debate the cause of Covid, or whether or not the closures should have happened. I am just making the point that 2020 SUCKED.
For those of us who are chronically ill, 2020 was hard for totally different reasons. Yes, Covid made things more difficult and scary. The loss of jobs and loved ones was also terrible. But for many of us, it was the social isolation that was hardest. While most people only quarantine for maybe two or three months, those of us who are immunocompromised have been in quarantine since March. We haven’t gone out to dinner, we haven’t gone and done our own grocery shopping. We haven’t had any social interaction, excluding our family, outside of the box that is our phone or computer.
I, and most anyone immunocompromised individual, would give anything to go grocery shopping and to be able to pick my own produce. Or to go to a friend’s house for a girl’s night and HUG someone. Or even just go and enjoy a drink or a meal at a restaurant with friends. Sadly, that just isn’t in the cards. But this isn’t a woe is me kind of piece. Instead, I just want to bring light to things that people may not be aware of. And give some suggestions to make isolation maybe a tiny bit easier.
Social isolation is HARD. It’s hard knowing every day when you wake up that you will be doing the same thing and staying inside the same four walls. But you have to find a way to get past that. Find things that you enjoy doing and you are productive when doing them. Like reading, or knitting, or for me writing. Writing gives me an outlet much like reading does for many. When I am writing I can pour myself into what I am writing and put all my attention on that piece. It gives me something to focus on, something to think about. Rather than just laying in bed playing games on my phone.
WHAT CAN WE DO??
If I could advise anyone who is chronically ill and has been stuck at home for many many months like me. It would be three-part. First, find friends and family who don’t mind talking over face time. There is something about actually being able to see your friend or family member’s face rather than just hearing their voice that makes things a little better. So set up weekly or bi-weekly, whatever works for you, dates with those people. So you have something to look forward to. If you can do this with several people it’s even better. On these calls, you can just talk or you can have game nights even. Or set up game night with multiple people over zoom.
Secondly, find a hobby. It can be something you have always enjoyed like reading. Or something totally different. Now is the time to think outside of the box and do something you have always wanted to. But didn’t think you could, or never had the time for. Once you figure out what you want to do schedule yourself time to do it. This will give you something to look forward to. In many cases, there will be a Facebook group for whatever hobby you picked. Whether it be scrapbooking or knitting or rock climbing, So that is another means of human interaction.
Lastly, GET OUTSIDE. This will look different for everyone based on where you live. I know some places are already super cold. But even if you can just get outside for a few minutes every day it will help clear your mind. If you feel like it and it’s not too cold, take a short walk around the block to get the blood pumping. If you have a friend nearby, get together with them and see if you can schedule a time when you can socially distance walk with them as another means of human interaction.
2020 was hard no doubt and honestly, 2021 isn’t going to be easier just because we change the last number of the year. Sorry to be Debby Downer, but it’s true. The only way we can change 2021’s trajectory for us personally is how we respond and what we do. So we have to find a way to make this a better year for each of us personally.
We can’t change how it’s going to be for anyone else. Sadly, it doesn’t look like this social isolation/ quarantine business for those of us who are immunocompromised is going to end any time soon. So let’s try and find new ways to deal with being at home all the time. If you have any ideas of ways to beat the isolation leave them for me below. I would love to read them and share them!!!
Cheers. Here is to a less socially isolated 2021.