For many, particularly those in the LGBT+ community, we are familiar with feelings of loneliness and isolation. Of those who have experienced these feelings, many of us have ensured our current social lives fill that gap and provide us with the social support we need to thrive. During the time of lockdown, we have all experienced a change in our social life, and for many this has brought a return of those feelings. Others may have experienced a reduced access to support services that helped them deal with these feelings.
It is important to remember that just as you are potentially feeling isolated, so are many others. Where possible, reaching out and checking in on your friends achieves 2 things. Firstly it ensures that those you care about are safe, and feeling valued. Secondly, by reaching out, we also reduce our own feelings of loneliness, and regain some control in an uncertain time.
As social distancing guidelines allow, meeting up outdoors with friends enables us to enjoy a change of scenery, and feel socially connected. As the diagram below shows, social connection provides a number of health benefits, many of which are particularly necessary during times of change.
It is essential to remember that the feelings you have are valid, and if you ask others, are potentially shared. Making plans and being proactive allows you to positively impact those feelings, and as mentioned, also help others to feel less isolated also.
Many people are using alternative methods to meet and stay in touch with people during this time. People from communities which do not always have the opportunity to organise have been using apps and websites to connect:
Some community support and groups for LGBT+ people can be found here