The best way to try and cheer yourself up is to try and cheer somebody else up.Mark Twain
Loneliness, as defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary, is: being without company; cut-off from others; not frequented by human beings.
Self-isolation due to COVID-19 is a necessity for all. However, there are difficult side effects for many, especially the elderly, those who live alone, and those with mental health issues.
The more difficult scenarios I’ve seen during our pandemic is: those who suffer and die alone in the hospital or at home because friends and family are not allowed to visit; and the elderly, and those who live alone who are unable to be visited by their families and friends.
I have three long-time friends who are in their 90s. Two of them are in lovely assisted-living facilities; the other has barely been able to leave her home for months for fear of contracting the virus. Under normal circumstances, they can wander about: play games and eat meals with others, enjoy a nice restaurant meal or dine at the homes of their friends and families, or explore during a simple shopping excursion. Now however, they are in near-solitary confinement relegated to their rooms and apartments with limited, and sometimes no social interaction.
According to the Center for Disease Control, there are many serious health conditions brought on by being lonely and self-isolated. Social isolation is associated with a 50% increase in dementia. Those with poor social relationships also see a 29% increase in heart disease and a 32% increase in having a stroke.
Just the other day, there was a nursing home in Cary, North Carolina, which made national news by posting a pictures of residents holding signs looking for friends and pen pals. Overnight, it became a global sensation, and they’ve been flooded with cards and letters. Such a simple thing!
Today is “National Cheer the Lonely Day.” Let’s take some time out of our day to bring some cheer to those who are lonely, alone, or simply need a friend and a lift in their day. Here’s some ideas to inspire you. Please share your ideas by leaving a comment here or posting via #cheertheloneyday or @eatdrinkworkplay on Instagram or Facebook.
- Call someone. Take some time to see how they’re doing and share part of your day with them. Or just simply listen.
- Tell a co-worker how much you value their work.
- Offer to do an errand or grocery run for one of your neighbors who do not drive or cannot leave the home.
- Send a pretty card to Aunt Margaret and let her know you’re thinking of her and share a story of how you’ve been doing. Etsy has several stores that sell terrific cards with a “social distance” theme.
- Drop off dinner to someone nearby who doesn’t get out very often. Having a home-cooked meal prepared by someone else will undoubtedly brighten their day.
- Invite a friend to meet you for a “social distanced” walk or hike outside somewhere. A breath of fresh air, some exercise and friendship; it doesn’t get much better.
- Plant some flowers for one of your neighbors. Adding some color to their front patio will add color to their life as well.
- Mentor a co-worker. If there’s a co-worker who has been especially stressed during this pandemic or has had difficulty with a work project, set-up a Zoom call, listen to them, and offer some guidance where you can.
- Send flowers or a care package to someone. Include some of their favorite things or even some basic necessities they haven’t been able to go out and get.
- Be a friend. One of my life lessons for my younger self is: Be a friend, and you will always have good friends. It’s true!