Last week we discussed hearing loss-related isolation. Social isolation is also often a side effect of hearing loss, as well as those of us sheltering in place during this time. It’s important to take care of your mental and emotional health as much as your hearing health when facing difficult times. We thought we should share a few ideas for how to combat social isolation while we are still abiding by quarantine guidelines.

5 Tips to Combat Social Isolation

  1. Try Facetime: If you or someone in your family struggles to use the telephone, Facetime is a great alternative. Facetime is an iPhone app that allows you to see the person speaking, making communication easier for those with hearing loss because they can see the other person’s facial expressions and cues. There are others, like Zoom, if you do not have an iPhone.
  2. Start Journaling Journaling can be fun. Just try putting pen to paper and sort through your thoughts, feelings, or ideas—anything that comes to mind. Journaling can also be therapeutic since it helps to relieve stress. Here are a few prompts to get you started:
    • I am grateful for ______.
    • Social distancing has made me realize _______, and I am learning ______[some lessons]____ from this.
    • When social distancing is over, I plan to _______.
  3. Keep Your Routine: Having a routine disrupted can be unsettling. To keep your mind and body on track, either develop a new routine or stick to an old routine even when you’re not leaving the house. Some of my patients have told me that they are still getting dressed for church, driving to their church’s parking lot, and watching church services through an app on their phone or radio. If you are developing a new routine, make sure to schedule things like healthy meals and exercise. A scheduled walk is another great way to put your mind at ease.
  4. Be Active: Bingeing Netflix can be fun, but it can also lead to feelings of resentment. Like I mentioned above, make sure to schedule some type of physical activity into your day. Youtube offers several free, at-home workouts. Just search the type of workout you would like to do!
  5. Refrain from Negative Thoughts: Developing poor habits and negative thought patterns is easy during a global pandemic. To make sure your thoughts stay positive, first learn to identify negative thought patterns that begin with the following:
    • There is no point in trying.
    • I can’t do that.
    • They think I’m boring.
  • Overcoming these negative thought patterns completely is very unlikely (our brain is designed to keep us alive, not happy). Instead, make it your goal to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. You may also designate an area in your journal for writing down the negative thoughts. Writing them helps you to purge them from your mind and move forward. Another tip for stopping negative thoughts is to stop watching the morning news. Research has shown that just three minutes of negative news in the morning significantly increases your chances of having negative experiences over the course of the day.

Reach Out

SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral information service for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.