Zoomed out? Exasperated by COVID-era isolation? Longing for face-to-face human interaction beyond your home? You’re not alone. Such craving is widespread, and holiday-induced loneliness brings additional challenges. Maybe some expectation management — and realistic solutions — are in order.

Holidays traditionally bring loads of in-person events and interaction. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and more gather people to eat, relax, talk, watch sports or movies or concerts, attend faith gatherings, sing, and enjoy company. COVID-era holidays will be different.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci explained that his three daughters were not coming for Thanksgiving due to COVID concerns. Ditto for National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins and his extended family.

“Home Alone” for the holidays?

What about you? Has “There’s no place like home for the holidays” morphed into “Home Alone” for the holidays? Have endless virtual office meetings made you a Zoombie? Maybe you’re a stressed parent juggling remote work and homeschooling. Losing sleep because your sales presentation requires schmoozing that a computer screen just can’t provide? Maybe you miss coffee with a trusted friend whose presence affirms your value. Help!

Loneliness affects even experts. With admirable transparency, psychiatrist Ravi Chandra, M.D., noted his own pandemic feelings: “I’ve had difficult moments of loneliness … an intense one on only the second day of quarantine, when it felt like the trapdoor beneath the stage of the world had been dropped out, and there was a bottomless pit of isolation and loss underneath.”

Isolation can make you feel unappreciated, unloved, anxious, angry. Chandra cites a mom who wrote: “My kid had an absolute unholy screaming like forty-minute meltdown about a very small thing and then at the end of it said quietly ‘I miss school and I miss my friends’.” Would that more adults recognized their own emotions’ roots.

So, what to do?

Many suggestions and diversions exist — both helpful and harmful — for handling pandemic isolation and loneliness. Consider a few I’d call helpful:

Copyright © 2020 Rusty Wright

This article first appeared on WashingtonExaminer.com

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This article was written by: Rusty Wright

Photo Credit: JR Korpa