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Are You Starting to Have the Lockdown Blues?

Here’s a look into why and what you can do about it.

Felipe Cespedes/Pexels
Source: Felipe Cespedes/Pexels

We are born into the world to connect, for survival. We are social creatures. However, with COVID-19, we are told that we must practice social distancing, and as a result, many people are experiencing the “Lockdown Blues.” We have locked ourselves in our homes, we have closed our businesses, and we don’t go out. We don’t know what the future holds. There are no real answers. People are afraid and anxious. At a time when we need to connect, have physical contact, and comfort each other more than ever, we cannot because of social distancing. In the past, when someone to whom you are close is going through a difficult time, you can give them a hug to show your support and to make them feel better. Human connection helps us get through tough times.

When we hug someone, oxytocin, referred to as the bonding hormone, is released into our bodies by our pituitary gland. Oxytocin lowers our cortisol levels, the hormone related to stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Stress weakens the immune system. Hugs are a natural stress reliever. In addition to releasing oxytocin, hugs activate the brain to release dopamine, the pleasure hormone. Hugs decrease stress and increase pleasure and human bonding. Hugs, therefore, are good for us both mentally and physically. We are currently isolated, and without social connections, we can feel lonely. We have pulled our heads into our homes like a turtle.

While currently, we must isolate, we don’t have to be lonely. Isolation is the physical state of being separated. Loneliness is a perceived feeling and a risk factor for depression, substance abuse, and suicide. Loneliness is toxic to our health. Though physical contact is not possible at this moment, emotional contact is. Technology has allowed us to stay connected through much more than just phones. Connecting through various platforms such as social media, Zoom, FaceTime, and Teams, while they don’t allow us to connect physically, they do allow us to connect emotionally. Just hearing someone’s voice or seeing his or her face can lift your spirits. Connecting remotely is much better than not connecting at all. People have been holding virtual wine parties, movie nights, and concerts to stay connected and to avoid the lockdown blues.

Now is the perfect time to do all the things you never had time for before—clean out that closet, rearrange the pantry, paint, learn a new language, take up a new hobby, put together a puzzle, make some crafts, read a book, watch some movies, learn how to play an instrument. You will be so busy that you won’t have time to be lonely.

And while the pandemic may be keeping us physically apart now, in many ways, it has us coming together to support and encourage one another. We are all in this together, and we can get through this. Many people have come together to donate their time making masks, donating food, and singing and cheering health care workers. And while many of us lack physical connections in the form of hugs, we can still ward off loneliness using remote means, thus making the day when we will be able to receive a hug that much more special.