When stay-at-home restrictions, physical distancing and masking became important for reducing transmission of COVID-19, we all learned something about loneliness and the importance of our social connections with others.
Loneliness is more than just an uncomfortable feeling. Research shows that it increases the risk of chronic disease and early death. It is as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being seriously overweight, and is closely linked with depression and suicide. For those who were already feeling lonely, the pandemic has made things worse. Others are more recently experiencing loneliness because of loss of community connection and their social support systems.
Social connections are difficult during the pandemic, but not impossible, and perhaps now more important than ever.
A small local group, the Community Health Action Coalition, has recently focused on ways to increase social connectedness under current restrictions and with minimal risk. Go to https://chaclaplata.org for a suggestion sheet on how to increase social connections during the pandemic.
The website https://www.qtinebuddy.com/signup-creatingconnections gives you a locally adapted opportunity to connect weekly with someone within Colorado or from around the world, with choices such as age group, specific interests or to just talk, by phone, email or internet.
Benches along the River Trail invite you to “Talk with a stranger and make a new friend, in honor of Lon Erwin.” Finally, some local folks are now available for one-to-one connection, to just lend a listening ear or provide help accessing resources.
For more information, please contact email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you’re a parent of young children, Lizatrig@gmail.com.