Isolation – Combating the Latest Lifestyle Risk to Good Health
May 11, 2020 / Webinars
COVID-19 is affecting employees across all sectors across the entire world in many ways—from a subclinical illness to death—and we’re practicing social distancing to flatten the curve. But is the “cure” creating additional risks, and how can it be avoided?
The entire world is united against a common foe – COVID-19 – which has swiftly caused illness, stretched health services, created huge economic and social change countries, business and individuals with immediate effects.
I am writing this on Easter Sunday. I am in my study alone with my thoughts. I have walked in my garden and listened to the birds, felt the sun rising, and appreciated my surroundings. I have meditated as per usual and have socially distanced myself from any news outlet. But this Easter Sunday is different—for the first time in 44 years, there are no sounds of children or grandchildren in the home. The silence is profound and will remain for some time. I miss the physical presence of them, the ability to hug in a difficult situation and reassure. As a father, grandfather and doctor, I am helpless.
I see no one walking the street outside my home. No cars pass. I see my elderly neighbor in his bedroom window and we exchange a wave. He is 90, his wife 92 and they have long–term ill health. I see his fear.
I hear of stories from our nursing and medical colleagues who have left their homes some time ago and said their goodbyes to spouses, partners and children, not knowing when they may, or if, they will return. They work in isolation, donning protective suits, surrounded by patients who cannot see, touch or hear from loved ones. They all live in fear of imminent death, alone. They have never faced such a foe in their lives.
Families are forced to be together for longer than ever before, but you can be together and alone. Abusive relationships and children at risk are trapped with little or no access to their usual sources of help. People are working from home, isolated from colleagues at their desks, coffee machines, lunchtime walks and chats. The casual handshake has probably gone forever. Loss of jobs and accompanying financial hardships, loss of self-esteem, relationships under pressure—the stress of it all will take its toll. Many are isolated in their minds and thoughts, unable to share their fears. For many, mental health will deteriorate with limited access to support systems and heightened stress and anxiety. And for some, there will be no way out for a long time, and even more challenging times approach.
In a medical career spanning 47 years, 30 of which I spent as a registered specialist in industrial medicine, I have never met a disease with this impact and ferocity. Even as I write this, we are learning more about the nature and effects of COVID-19. We have no treatment and no vaccine. Across the globe, medical and nursing personnel are trying tested and new techniques. They will find the correct and best protocols to treat severe cases and a vaccine will come. Until then, we must keep hoping for the best, practicing social distancing, and doing what we can to take care of our mental, physical, and financial health.
Join me for a live 2-part webinar on Managing Loneliness in Trying Times on Wednesday, May 13 at 2pm EDT and Understanding and Combating Isolation from COVID-19 on Thursday, May 21 at 2pm EDT to learn more about the challenges employees are facing during COVID-19 and how to manage stress, and stay connected through social distancing and isolation.