COVID 19 has meant that the year 2020 has been a year unlike any other in recent history. If you had been told a year ago that you would be unable to leave your home for large parts of the year, and when you did leave them, you had to wear a mask and stay two metres away from everyone else, you would never have believed them.
However, sadly that is the current reality we are all living in, with things set to carry on this way for some time.
This era of social distancing has also meant that a huge majority of people have had to start working from home. Working from home is something many of us have wished to do in the past, and the ability to work from home has saved many jobs, and kept money flowing into the bank, but this enforced lone working has complications of its own that are now becoming evident.
The Rising Trend Of Loneliness
Coronavirus has caused a huge amount of changes this year, with one of the most noticeable being a large majority of the workforce working from home.
Many workers, particularly those who have desk jobs, have long yearned for the relative comfort of working from home, but this year has shown it is not all it has cracked up to be.
Never before have we been more apart from other humans, and we are forced to do so, it is not a choice we have made, and that is having detrimental effects on people’s mental health, with many people feeling lonely and isolated.
Loneliness is not a new issue by any means, but it is currently being felt by a huge number of people internationally, on a scale that has not been seen before.
It is important to be aware that remote working can cause these feelings, and it is equally important to acknowledge them.
Why Remote Working Can Feel Lonely
Commuting to and from the office can seem a bit of a drag, and you will have annoying colleagues, such as the one who always brings in fish and heats it up in the microwave, or the one who is always fundraising for something and a collecting tin is being rattled under your nose.
However, all the people that you come into contact with on a daily basis add interest and dimension to your daily life.
Even the commute adds something, as you take in the different people and situations around you, even if you don’t realise you are doing it.
Suddenly stopping all of that, and no longer having the background noise of chattering colleagues, the printers working away and the coffee machine being used for the hundredth time that day, is a bit of a shock to the system, and lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, and the long term effects of this are still to be seen.
Humans are very social creatures, even the most self proclaimed unsociable person, still benefits from being around other people.
Lockdown has taken away that interaction. Many people are using technology to have video chats with friends, family and colleagues, but this method of communication is very draining. We cannot tell people’s body language, or pick up those subtle, non-verbal clues, and it is very draining to communicate and work from home in this way.
Why It’s Important To Be Aware Of These Feelings
For many people, they may not realise they are feeling alone, and it can have a steady, negative impact on both their mental and physical health.
If you are aware of these feelings, you can do your best to combat them in any way you can.
It is important to verbalise how you are feeling, as many people will be feeling the same, and this will lead to you feeling less alone.
It is also worth talking to your doctor as they can signpost you in the right direction to getting the help you need.
There are many groups being set up to help people, and as lockdown eases, it may become safe to meet with people, whilst being socially distanced of course.
Try to set a time to work, and a time to relax, so that working does not become your whole day, and if you can, and it is safe to do so, get some fresh air, even seeing humans from a distance can help.
But, please remember, you are not alone, we will get through this together, and we will be with our loved ones soon – you’ll even be thankful to smell the microwaved fish again!