Loneliness is also a pandemic, and it’s going to become more of a challenge

Get some exercise! Pioneer Walkway provides a short and pleasant walk with views of Osoyoos Lake. Flowers are starting to emerge along the walkway. It is popular, so don’t forget to stay at least two metres away from anyone who is not a healthy member of your own family. Taken March 19. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Loneliness is itself a serious health issue. With social distancing and other measures, it’s going to get worse.

It’s especially a problem for seniors living on their own. Loneliness contributes to mental anxiety, but it also affects your physical health. Some research suggests loneliness can be as damaging to health as smoking and is more predictive of mortality than obesity.

Volunteering, if you are able, is a great way to stay connected with others, and volunteers are going to be needed. Those who are housebound and lonely are encouraged to swallow their pride and reach out to others for comfort and contact.

It may be as simple as identifying a person living on their own who can’t get out and phoning them regularly.

This article, “Four ways to help prevent loneliness while you’re social distancing“, was published March 17 by the Washington Post, which is making its Coronavirus articles free during the pandemic. It’s written by Amanda Ripley, a contributing writer at the Atlantic and author of “The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes — and Why.”

Her main suggestions are:

  • Physical exercise
  • Social “closening” – keeping your relationships alive
  • Mindfulness – including meditation
  • Volunteering to help others


Author: Richard McGuire

Richard McGuire is an Osoyoos photographer who worked at the Osoyoos Times between 2012 and 2018, first as reporter and then as editor. He has a long career in journalism as well as research, communication and management at the House of Commons in Ottawa and in the federal government.

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