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The Psychological Impact of Social Isolation and Tips on How to Make This Easier

The Psychological Impact of Social Isolation and Tips on How to Make This Easier

The Psychological Impact of Social Isolation and Tips on How to Make This Easier

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are practicing social distancing and quarantining at home to protect themselves and others from the virulent virus. For those living alone, this can mean spending a lengthy amount of time being alone in their apartments or houses.

This can degrade one’s mental health, and it may even lead to increased social isolation and increased risks of serious mental health disorders. In this article, we will talk about the psychological impact of social isolation and some tips on how to make these trying and uncertain times much easier to handle.

What is Social Isolation?

Social Isolation is a state of complete or close to complete lack of interaction or contact from the outside world over a long period. This is quite different from the feeling of loneliness which is a temporary and most often involuntary lack of contact from other members of society.

 

 

 

Humans are inherently social animals. We have evolved to thrive and feel good when around people we trust and socially interact with them. With quarantines taking place all over the world, many people are experiencing less “real” social interaction aside from social media on the internet. However, the lower-income groups of people may not have access to the internet and social media to communicate with their family and friends.

 What are the Negative Impacts of Social Isolation?

The negative impacts of social isolation have been studied in a variety of different groups from astronauts in space, people sentenced to solitary confinement, to researchers in the frigid Antarctic region. Social isolation can wreak severe havoc on a person’s mental and also physical health. Some of its impacts are as follows:

1. Increased Risk of Depression

Numerous studies have found that social isolation is commonly associated with depression and other mental health disorders. Negative thoughts such as hopelessness and worthlessness can increase in magnitude while being socially isolated. 

  1. Can Fuel Anxiety and Paranoia

Social isolation can heavily contribute to anxiety and may even trigger panic attacks, especially during these uncertain times. Without other people to console or talk to, anxious behavior can worsen over time.

  1. Heighten Problems with Diet

Social isolation can negatively impact an individual’s diet, whether it be overeating or the loss of one’s appetite. Sudden gain or loss of weight can be severely damaging to your physical and mental health.   

  1. Problems with Sleep

Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much is also associated with social isolation. Irregular sleep schedules can severely impact an individual’s mental state.

  1. Loss of Energy

Due to having trouble with sleep, a socially isolated individual can feel tired for most of the day and lose any motivation for doing anything productive during the day. If the individual is working at home during the quarantine, this can negatively impact his or her income.

  1. Substance Abuse

Being in social isolation can increase one’s stress levels tremendously, and this can lead to abuse of substances such as alcohol, medications, nicotine, and even drugs.

  1. Negative Physical Impacts

 Aside from negative mental impacts, social isolation is known to cause muscle aches, pains, and headaches. It can also worsen existing medical conditions. Studies have shown that social isolation is associated with increased risks of heart diseases, high levels of stress hormones, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

 

How to Combat Social Isolation

 

Being socially isolated for a lengthy amount of time can lead to deadly situations, as seen above. However, social isolation can be combatted and prevented. Here some of the ways you can stay mentally and physically healthy while in social isolation during the quarantine:

  1. Keep Active and Exercise

Exercising is one of the best ways to combat the feelings of social isolation. Numerous studies worldwide have found that exercising can help reduce stress levels by a large margin. It helps boosts endorphin production, the feel-good chemicals of our brain and reduce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. You can safely do workout routines indoors without having to go to the gym.

  1. Continue Neglected Projects

Maybe you have projects in the past that you’ve put aside. You can use the plentiful time you have at home to continue and maybe even finish them. Keeping yourself busy can help ward off the symptoms of depression due to social isolation.

  1. Try relaxation techniques, mindfulness and prayers

Relaxation can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. A study in 2019 found that college students who used mobile apps for relaxation such as call to prayer mindfulness for 10 minutes a day experienced being less depressed and anxious. Prayers which is seen as a form of relaxation also helps reduce blood pressure and lower your heart rate.

  1. Clean the House

Maybe it has been a while since your house or apartment had a thorough cleaning. That said, you want to take an hour or two to clean your entire house and get rid of unessential things you may have lying around. You might even find an item you’ve been looking for or discover something nostalgic from the past.

  1. Learn about your faith or a New Hobby or a Language

Now that we have ample time for ourselves, it is one of the best times to reflect, read the Quran and pray or learn a new hobby or a language. You can currently find plenty of apps or have Zoom get together. My children are currently engaged in Studying activities (including Islamic studies) online and have to answer questions where they get feedback, they absolutely love it.

 

Conclusion

We are living in a very scary and uncertain time, with more and more people experiencing social isolation. As humans, we require socialization to maintain a healthy mental and physical state. Therefore, knowing the effects of social isolation and the ways you can prevent them can be really helpful in making your quarantine a lot easier. Sometimes individuals are unable to cope and this is where Sakoon Counselling Services can help.

 

 Read our Self Help guides which cover anxiety and depression

7 pieces of advice for every Muslim losing a loved one

7 pieces of advice for every Muslim losing a loved one

Dealing with the death of a loved one

 

إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّ إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ‎

Innā lillāhi wa innā ilayhī rājiʿūn

Surely we belong to Allah and to him shall we return

 

 

Death is an irrefutable fact we can’t deny. Time and again, we lose ourselves in this transient world thinking that we are going to live here forever. As a result, Allah reminds us and shows us signs with the loss of a loved one to show that everything in this world is just temporary.

Losing a loved one is undeniably a grief-stricken and devastating moment, especially for the family and close friends. Although according to Qur’an 2:156, that a soul belongs to Allah and will return to Him in time, still it is a painful moment seeing our loved one passed away.  Only those people who have experienced it can truly know the depth of pain it brings when it strikes. It hurts deep down in the core that sometimes you feel numb with emotion. The Muslim community has a prescribed way in Islam on how to deal with such inconsolable loss—without violating Islamic values. These are the seven pieces of advice that can help.

1. Dua (Supplications)

Duas or supplications are the biggest weapons of a firm believer of Islam and they are unquestionable. While the believer is still alive, he/she makes Duas for our well-being, and now that he/she has gone to the afterlife, that person relies on our Dua since he/she desperately needs them now.

Many of us have forgotten the significance of making Duas by thinking that making a Dua is all there is to do when in reality, Duas are our strongest assets to the point that they can possibly alter the decree of Allah to turn out to be another decree. With this mentality, people tend to get occupied with other acts, thinking that these acts will profit the dead, but they do not. Having get-togethers while reading Qur’an on the dead or thinking Duas are more powerful whilst at the grave are already forms of modernisations in the religion that has no authentic basis. The Holy Qur’an was made known as a form of healing and guidance for those alive. It was never the tradition of the early righteous Muslims to gather after the death on a specific day or visit the grave in order to make Duas for the dead with the perception that they will be more acceptable.

The little things we do can truly be big in the eyes of Allah. Make Duas for the forgiveness of loved ones, especially the children to their parents.

There are many ways to make your Dua. However, it should be observed in accordance with the Sunnah; take note that the best Duas are those wordings said by the Prophet. 

2. Sabr (Patience)

Probably one of the hardest attribute to grasp when dealing with the death of a loved is observing patience or Sabr. Allow yourself time to heal, and don’t let death take its toll on you. Sabr enables a rightful Muslim to demonstrate reliance and contentment to the decree of Allah. This will also allow that person to be grateful to Allah despite such loss knowing that Allah will never burden a soul with more than he/she can bear and that He designed this pivotal moment to pay off the loss with something much bigger in the future.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reminds us that a true believer will express gratitude to Allah, if prosperity attends that person, and he/she will patiently endure any adversity that befalls him, thinking that it is for his best interests.

Observing Sabr or patience does not mean we cannot feel down or cry our grief; for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also had tears in his eyes when Ibraheem, his son passed away. But we must not hit oneself, cry excessively, tear down the clothes, and most especially question Allah’s decree. These acts are strictly prohibited, and thus, we waste away on the great reward that is to come for being patient.

3. Don’t dwell in isolation

It is quite common to be engulfed by grief with the death of a loved one. However, one must not dwell in it much, as this sends an invitation to Shaytan to become misery’s company. The ploy is to give your attention to every little thing you have, thinking that this could also be taken away from you. Love brings love while regret leads to discontentment; discontentment should not be felt, most especially to the Glorified and Exalted Allah. Let the death of a loved be a lesson of detaching from Dunya and to hold Allah (glorified and exalted be he) in your heart above all others.

4. Aiding and Forgiveness

In life, we have our own share of disagreements which may, later on, lead to holding grudges against one another. Forgiving your deceased loved one for any wrongdoings they have done to you is a great gift you can give to them. By freeing yourself from grudge or something that person owes you, you are being merciful to that person which will also lead to Allah being merciful upon you as well.

Besides giving forgiveness to what is due, a faithful Muslim also ought to help a deceased brother with any outstanding debt he or she may have left behind. The living faithful follower must also help in the funeral as well, for this is one of the obligations of a Muslim to another Muslim brother or sister. Help the close relatives or the family of the departed Muslim during their difficult time, knowing they really need any help that comes along their way.

5. Sadaqa (Charity)

Another good thing a faithful follower of Islam can do for their departed loved one is to offer charity or Sadaqa on their behalf alongside his or her own charity or Sadaqa that he/she gives while still alive. This is according to the Sunnah and one that should be taken with high importance.

Donate on projects that provide water, build a school or Masjid, or simply donate clothes and foods to charity. Sadaqa does not only mean to give money on behalf of your late loved one, but you could also do a Hajj or Umrah, just as long as you have finished your Hajj already. You can also try observing voluntary fasts for the sake of your deceased loved one. In conjunction with all of this, try to remember some of the bits of advice the departed may have shared with you and try to act them out. This will allow them to have the incessant reward for the knowledge they have imparted when they were still alive. Also, take note that by doing such acts you will benefit your own book of deeds as well

6. Occupy yourself

We all need time to heal and experience the feeling of grief as it comes. But, it is imperative to keep moving forward despite the loss. The process of bereavement carries you back to the past, reminding you of all that you could have said or done, and this makes you feel all the more depress and lonely. Thus, going back to your usual routine could become your lifeline, as this may serve as a healthy distraction to channel out your energy to do something good. One is never really prepared for this paralyzing pain, yet Allah (glorified and exalted be he) reassures us that every hardship will ease (Qur’an: Chapter 94 verse 5).

7. Reflection

Lastly, take these pivotal and precious moments of contemplation over the reality of this temporary world and that we will also depart from this transient phase to join Allah (Inshallah). We are encouraged to think about death over and over again and visit graveyards to keep us back on track and assess our current relationship and state with Allah. Do not let the evil spirits keep you busy with all the worldly needs of this world. Remind yourself especially your loved ones and the others around you that death is just around the corner. We must do more to become better servants and faithful followers of Allah. With our reconnection with Allah upon a person’s death, that deceased follower may get the rewards for your good works as well.

Feeling a deeper love for someone would also mean feeling deeper grief for that person’s loss, as they say, to grieve is to love. During the death of a loved one, we feel vulnerable, raw, anguished, devastated, and so much more. Pain can be manifested in different ways, and the coping mechanism of an individual differs from person to person.

There is no exact timeline for a healing process or grief, but in time, these sharp pangs may become blunt. But the Qur’an and the Sunnah can help us deal with these emotions more appropriately. Following these steps will not only help us recover in time, but it will also help the soul of our bereaved loved ones and ours as well.  In addition seeking Counselling can help you through the grieving process.

Sources of Support:

Islamic Bereavement Counselling

Eternal Gardens

The Muslim Bereavement forum

Happily Ever After 2 – Covering before, during and after marriage

Happily Ever After 2 – Covering before, during and after marriage

Muslim Marriage event – Covering the cycle of marriage.

Due to Popular demand we are holding another marriage event which talks about real marriages and not fairy tales.

How to have a successful marriage, what happens when problems arise and the support you can get during times of difficulty.

It will  be another Intense day

Who can attend:

Open to all. whether your an individual or a couple getting to know each other for marriage or are married. 

Key Speakers:

Ayesha Aslam – Director of Sakoon Islamic counselling 

Saykh Hasib Noor – The Legacy institue

Imam Shabbir Hassan – The NIkah Co

We look forward to seeing you

Ladies evening of the year

Ladies evening of the year

Get ready for an evening full of Entertainment, Glitz & Glamour!!! Exclusive to Ladies only (Girls 10 yrs+)!

Our guest Speaker includes Ayesha Aslam From Sakoon Islamic counselling 

She will be discussing Muslim Mental Health, addressing the Stigma associated with it and how you can support the community by sitting their Accredited Counselling Courses

 

About this Event

Ruislip Muslim Mums & Friends‘ in collaboration with ‘Lahore Fashions UK‘ are excited to invite you to a ‘ Fashion & Entertainment Extravaganza’!

It truly is an evening of empowering women!

In their own way each woman is battling through something or another in their life& we all need opportunities where we can just leave our troubles at the door, let our hair down (literally), glam up and dance the night away.

Sounds like your type of evening? Then just let us entertain You!

Hosted by the very talented Ruby Raza & Kajal from LycaRadio.

Featuring Fashion Statement by ‘Lahore Fashions UK’

Performances by DJ HENNA & MISS MOD (Ministry of Dhol)

Including a three course sit-down dinner.