Staying connected to others is an important part of healing, recovering, and life in general. We thrive off these connections, we depend on them, especially when going through hard times.

Recently the quarantine has thrown the whole world into hard times. Keeping up with connections can be tough when life’s responsibilities need attention, but once the quarantine hit we weren’t given a choice. Even if free time was available to nurture those connections, we were forced to stay indoors and stay away from friends and family.

This isolation has caused feelings of loneliness in a lot of us.

Feelings of loneliness can lead us to sink deeper into our anxiety and depression.

This can be especially frustrating when we have worked so hard to overcome these feelings. So how are we to maintain the strength of those connections when we can’t come together for social interaction? How do we stay out of our shell when that is the only place we are “allowed” to be? What can we do to overcome the dark cloud of depression?

First things first, practice self-evaluating. Check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling that day. Are you feeling extra lonely? Is depression creeping back up and weighing heavy on your mind? The minute you realize that you’re falling into that black hole of isolation, take a step towards climbing out. Even if it’s just a baby step, take it. Take a shower. Step outside into the sunshine. This will help you get grounded and take the next step to nurture those connections with your loved ones.

Next, look at social media as a tool you can use to stay connected. Go on Facebook and see what your friends have been up to lately. Watch those Instagram stories and laugh at all the antics your nieces and nephews have been up to. Bring some light and laughter into your world. Let that lighten the load of the depression and loneliness you’ve been feeling.

Send a message or a text to your circle of friends. Maybe they’ve been feeling lonely just like you. It’s possible you’ve been isolating yourselves and retreating back into your shells together without even knowing it! During these days of lock-down, plan a virtual hangout. This gives you that connection while still adhering to the “stay at home” orders. Zoom and Skype are free and easy to use and amazing resources for staying connected. Hop on a video call with a group of your friends and make dinner together, have a drink, or just sit and chat about how you’ve been feeling lately. This can be therapeutic and help relieve those feelings of loneliness.

Once this lock-down is over you can nurture your friendships through face-to-face coffee dates, dinner dates, or however you choose to get out of the house! But in the meantime, remind yourself why you connected with your friends in the first place. Common interests, dislikes, understanding of the difficulties with mental health. You bonded with your people because they understand you. Don’t let the bad days cause you to forget that solid fact. Reach out, whether it be through social media, text, or a phone call. Let them know you are struggling and I guarantee your friends will understand. They will be there to support you and help you get through those hard times. A pesky quarantine can’t destroy the bonds you have created. Don’t give it the power to make you believe otherwise.

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