When researching for this blog post, I realised that social isolation doesn’t just target a single age group. It can be experienced by people throughout their entire life in many different ways. While in my interpretation, isolation is often stemmed from a series of significant changes in your life, it’s really an amazing opportunity for you to refocus, reprioritise and centre yourself in your present now.
In my own personal experience, I’ve recently come to a place of social isolation since starting my first year at university. While I’m a naturally introverted person, I seem to work best on my own in a room of many people. Which means that while living at home the moment's in-between assignments and lectures can get pretty quiet without some real effort from me. I suddenly found a true longing for my childhood and the community in which I grew up in, where my day was filled with organic and natural examples of socialisation through my parent's friends and my school activities. However these days, it’s me who has to put in the effort, step out of my own comfort zone and make the choice to actively pursue new friendships and social experiences.
Perhaps you’re a new mum, and since having a baby your friend group has significantly shifted. Simply because you have begun a new chapter of your life, things will have to change. However often in the hustle and bustle of preparing for, and having a baby, it’s not until the baby has arrived which you realise how quiet your social life may have become. Socialisation has an entirely new taste to it!
Isolation in your older age groups is what came up most significantly in my online research, and honestly, I hadn’t even considered it at first. But of course, it’s a significant issue and can sometimes be an influential factor in an elderly person’s decline.
I think the most important thing to remember no matter what your age group is that you’re not alone in your feelings of isolation. As ironic as that sounds! I know that while I may be sitting on my own in the library at the university, I’m not the only one who’s wishing there was something sitting with me who I could work with. Or that many mums wish they had someone to share their questions about their baby’s journey and development with. The key is recognising that you’re surrounded by opportunities to reach out to others and knowing that there are so many people out there who will appreciate your effort to connect.
Here is a poem which I found from one of my favourite writers on Instagram. Her name is Cassandra Grodd and I believe this piece perfectly displays the unspoken words we have for those around us.
Her Instagram handle is @quoteswithcass - be sure to check it out for some amazing work!
Working through social isolation isn’t just a quick fix, it’s more the constant layering of efforts to get yourself out there, connect with your community and find like-minded people. Here are my top tips to try:
1. Make the effort to have a phone call with a friend or family member at least once a week, this is a great way to stay connected without the effort of having to specifically make plans, get ready and out of the house. I think this is the perfect one for new mums or busy people with a lot on their plate!
2. Enjoy the power of a FaceTime - I love using this specifically for family members. While my siblings live in completely different places, I seriously appreciate when someone puts in the effort to call and see me. This is an easy one if you’re out for a walk, at home folding laundry or even grocery shopping. If you have elderly parents, bring your phone when you next visit them and call a family member who lives overseas, this is a wonderful way to keep them connected and enable them to see the other person.
3. Work in social settings - if you’re busy or are like me and enjoy working alone, make the effort to get out of the house and study or work in a new environment. Pop to the library or your favourite coffee shop, just being surrounded by people will help you feel like you’re involved in your community and will encourage you to be present.
4. Make dinner or coffee plans - there’s something inherently social about eating with others. It’s a great way to bring people together! Host a dinner for your neighbours or old family friends, get everyone to bring a plate to spread the workload. Or, just make plans to catch up over a coffee.
5. Get outside - heading to the local Farmer’s Market every Saturday is becoming one of my weekly highlights. You never know who you’ll bump into, and the hustle and bustle of your town coming together is a lovely way to feel involved and enveloped in your own community. Another idea is to take your business meetings outside! Enjoy talking business with a co-worker at a cafe near the office, or take a walk around the park to get your blood pumping.
6. Make an effort with your friendships - whether you’re wishing to reconnect with an old friend, meet up with a lost one or find someone new, actively put effort into this area of your social life. Make a personal goal to meet someone new, message an old school friend, or make coffee plans with someone you haven’t seen in a while! Make a goal a week and keep yourself in check (or reward yourself as necessary). It’s all about breaking down the stigma you may have against reaching out to others, being the one to make plans or thinking that they don’t want to hear from you! They do, they possibly just haven’t had the chance to do so!
7. Join a club or local activity group - find a group of like-minded people who can inspire and motivate you in new ways. For me, this involved reaching out to a group of creatives at my university. However, you might want to find a local tramping group, or a support group for new parents like Space LINK, or perhaps just a walking group. Check out your local community facebook pages or boards to see the available groups to join!
I hope you’ve found this blog post useful, or at least encouraging. My most important message is that you’re not alone in your moments in isolation. Change is something to celebrate, appreciate and take as an opportunity for growth and progress.
If you have any thoughts or tips on this topic, please feel free to share them below in the comments section!
From our home to yours,
Hi there! Thanks for checking out the Live Lively blog. I am so excited to share my passion for productivity, personal growth and wellbeing!