Loneliness, Isolation and COVID-19


Now that the anticipated second wave of COVID-19 is upon us, and we are being told to once again pull back from the limited social interaction we were allowed, the familiar clouds of loneliness and isolation have begun to gather. It doesn’t help that those clouds are gathering in a winter sky! And everywhere we turn, we are reminded of the many dangers of loneliness – how it can precipitate depression, lead to poorer overall health and contribute to cognitive decline.

So, what can we do to fight back? Especially when every rational instinct is telling us to cloister inside, safely away from the unseen coronavirus particles swirling in the air around us? Happily, the answer is “Plenty”! And the answer starts with the notion that while humans are fundamentally social beings, we all have our unique needs. We may derive much of our happiness, our sense of self-worth, our intellectual gratification and our sense of belonging by the relationships we cultivate in our family and in our many communities. But we also rely on the fulfillment and nurturing of our individual interests to achieve those same goals of well-being. Below is a list of suggestions (curated from several recently published articles about how to stave off loneliness and isolation during the next few months) you might try.

  • Make your dearest relationships a priority. Nurture those you are able to physically be with. Pick up the phone to reconnect with family and friends you cannot visit. If you are able, use available videoconferencing technologies, such as FaceTime and Zoom, so that you can see the beloved faces of those you are calling. If you prefer, write letters to your loved ones. Letter writing may be a fading art, but that makes receiving letters all the more wonderful.
  • Try journaling. Write down whatever you are thinking about, or whatever you accomplished during the day. Consider recreating some of your more treasured memories. Maybe even record what you might do (or which people you will first reconnect with) once the coronavirus restrictions are lifted. If you have an artistic flair, why not illustrate your thoughts as well?
  • Try to learn something new every day. It might be a new word, the lyrics to a favourite song, or some historical fact you wish you knew more about. It might even involve tapping into an artistic talent you never really explored. Never give up on feeding your curiosity!
  • Eat well. Nourishing your body is key to sustaining your health and happiness. But don’t forget to allow yourself a daily indulgence or two.
  • Sleep well. Stay on a regular schedule and get the refreshing boost of a good night’s sleep. You will be better able to confront the challenges of COVID-19 with a clear and rested mind.
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga, stretching, meditation or quiet contemplation, to keep at bay the anxiety we all feel during these unusual times.
  • Continue to exercise. Keep your body moving and strong. If you are allowed, exercise with others.
  • Practice gratitude. Identify those things, or experiences, or relationships in your life for which you are thankful, and remember them. Consider sharing them with others. One of the best defences against despair is to crowd it out with memories of joy and gratitude.

Above all, be mindful of how you are coping, and seek help if you feel like you are losing control. It is natural to be feeling low and anxious, to be seeing danger and unsteadiness in a suddenly changed world. COVID-19 is testing humanity in ways we haven’t seen for generations. You are not alone in feeling off-kilter. And you are not alone in taking whatever steps you can to make these next few months pass with as little disruption to your well-being as you can.

Stay safe, and be well,

Amy Lewtas,

Founder of RetroSparX

New to RetroSparX

We are pleased to announce the following new RetroSparX memory game units which have recently been released and can be found on our website. We invite you to delve into the topics and tackle the memory games for seniors that comprise each unit. And we wish you happy reminiscing while you recall, relive and revel in these moments.

Revel in the Dr. Seuss Classic, The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat was a work of genius, completely upending the traditional approach to teaching children how to read. With its fanciful characters and chaotic plot, Dr. Seuss’s breakout story thrilled children and parents alike. Read about this wonderful book and its lasting impact on children’s literature. Click here to read more about this memory game unit.

Included memory games for seniors

  • Revisit some of Dr. Seuss’s most beloved stories and their equally treasured characters in The Seuss-iverse. By rearranging some letters, you will discover a particularly wise quote from his last book.
  • In Book, Books, Books, complete the titles of enduring picture books and early chapter books which you may have read yourself or read to a child snuggled on your lap. In the process, the names of two coveted children’s literature prizes will be revealed.

Relive The Battle of the Sexes Tennis Showdown of 1973

It was the most-watched tennis match of all time – an epic showdown between Bobby Riggs and Billie-Jean King. At stake were bragging rights as to whether the men’s or women’s game was superior. Read about this extraordinary sporting event and its undisputed victor! Click here to read more about this memory game unit.

Included memory games for seniors

  • Solve clues to complete the names of some of the greatest athletes and other terminology of the tennis world in Titans of Tennis. By fitting the answers in a crossword grid, you will discover the unique language of scoring a tennis game.
  • In Swapping Sports-isms, create pairs of sports-inspired words or phrases by unscrambling letters to both complete a word or phrase and begin another word or phrase. You will have a ball!