Whilst 2020 will undoubtedly go down in history as being a year filled with upset, anxiety and dread, it was also the year that brought the concept of self-care and mindfulness to the fore. This week we are joined by Dr. Michelle Killian. Michelle works in the area of wellness and, as a researcher, is currently dissecting the impact of disruption surrounding COVID-19 and the ways in which it is impacting people’s well-being. In addition to this, Michelle is also a yoga teacher who teaches mindfulness.
Michelle explains to us how thus far her research has highlighted the diverse effects social isolation has had on individuals. She notes how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted people in vastly different ways. Whilst for some people, COVID-19 has brought about a number of positives, there are a number of people struggling, especially in terms of feeling socially isolated. Michelle highlights the centrality of social connection within human beings.
Discussion turned to different personality types. Michelle suggests that even those who consider themselves as a loner, the literal knowing that you’re isolated can have a big impact on the individual, because a lot of social isolation is down to perception. As well as this, whilst online interactions are considered to be the norm for younger people, the importance of real human interaction for the younger generation has become prominent during lockdown.
Turning towards what people can do during lockdown to combat feelings of isolations, Michelle suggests that the first thing that people need to do is realise their limitations. Whilst social interaction has its negatives, it can provide a substitute to help buffer us against the effects of loneliness. Whether it be having a drink online with family members, or doing a virtual quiz with friends, using the internet as a way of substituting these feelings of loneliness is really important.
Another way to combat isolation is to volunteer to help somebody. We obviously have to be careful and put our own health first, but if you know that your neighbour is in a high risk category and is unable to collect their groceries, maybe offer to organise an online delivery for them or, if you feel safe to, perhaps you could collect their food items for them when you’re doing your own shopping? All these things can be done whilst remaining socially distant from another individual but volunteering to help another not only makes you feel good yourself, but helps your friend / family member / neighbour too! There are also a number of organisations who create buddy schemes which allow you to have a phone call or email conversation with somebody else who may also be feeling isolated.
Make sure to check out the rest of Michelle’s thoughts and tips on minding your well-being during lockdown on the podcast!
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