Surviving Isolation


Taylor Bryant, MA & Nicole Katsaounis, M.Ed




March 29, 2020

As the days of our restriction wear on, you may begin to find your outlook shifting. At first, working remotely or having a couple of days off was a well needed break in your routine. Maybe after a few days boredom even began to set in and you tapped into your inner couch potato. You embraced the chip crumbs on your shirt and your all-day pajama wear! You sent pictures to your friends and felt some sort of comradery in the situation. But now, now there is a twinge of something different in your soul. There is a twinge of frustration and energy. Your at-home routine, or lack thereof, isn’t working quite as you had planned. You’re beginning to notice all of the things about your home that you don’t like or you are now fully realizing all of the things that need fixed. Maybe you’re compulsively checking your bank account and feeling frustrated you can’t get out there and hustle the way you want to. As much as you want connection with others, you may find yourself not getting the pleasure out of the calls or texts or you may even find annoyance in the people you are trying to connect with! This is normal!

As humans, we function best when we all have a purpose in life regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status. Elderly patients who have a clear purpose AND take action steps every day to achieve their purpose are less likely to experience dementia symptoms and have a lower mortality rate. Youths living in chronic poverty who have a sense of purpose and take action steps toward that purpose every day are less likely to engage in antisocial behavior and have increases in school completion rates along with a host of other benefits (Machell, Disabato, & Kashdan, 2015). Individuals who do not have a strong sense of purpose are more likely to accept experiences and opportunities presented to them and are less likely to strive to create situations that will promote opportunities to help mitigate the impacts of risk (Burrow, O’Dell, & Hill, 2009).

Your first instinct may to say, “hey, I have a purpose! I am a mom, wife, husband, dad, sibling, employee, and so on!” Yes, that is a meaningful role you play; however, having a clear sense of purpose and working toward it delves deeper into the things that are important to you. For example, dig deeper with your  purpose in life of being a good parent and clearly list out all of the details of what you feel being a good parent entails.  Then, in addition to doing the things on that list, a sense of purpose calls on us to grow to become better at our purpose. Maybe that looks like watching TedTalks on how to teach happiness to your kids or reading Psychology Today to learn the most effective behavior modification skills. Clear pictures assist us in breaking down our vision into something more easily achievable.

During this time of change and upheaval, it is easy to let the days slip by. Although we ALL need lazy days here and there, the problem is, not having a working toward a clear sense of purpose puts us at higher risk for poor mental health. Clearly knowing and doing one NEW thing a day to work toward your purpose is one way to help alleviate the frustrations you may be beginning to feel! Let us know how you are doing!

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