During our pandemic, social intercourse is lacking, the real, up-close, and personal social intercourse. Yes, Zoom and other video apps bring friends and family within visual range, but it is not the same.
Networking for All
https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/12-ways-to-keep-your-brain-young I belong to several networking groups (business, social, military, and more). I see more people per week than at any other time I can remember. Social networking improves brain health and function, especially for older adults (https://www.verywellmind.com/social-engagement-promotes-brain-health-in-older-adults-5086881)
Personal Touch and Feel
But, more importantly, the pandemic has seen an increase in suicides (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-020-01042-z) that, in part, is attributed to impaired social and family relationships. Suddenly, social distance is a lifestyle. Many began to suffer from fear, anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and inactivity. There is a limit to binge-watching.
Our brains need the interaction with others. My wife and I visited some friends of ours recently. They are older than us. Their kids bought them the latest iPad and iPhone but did not provide the training necessary to master the basic skills beyond answering the phone.
They would love to have daily video conferencing with kids and grandkids but do not know-how. The corollary is that the kids should be disciplined to maintain active contact daily. YouTube provides excellent instructions on Zoom and other video applications.
Ask, and You Shall Receive
https://biblehub.com/matthew/7-7.htm Nothing happens when we do not ask for help. If you need more frequent social intercourse with family, ask for it. Do not demand it; suggest it. Or generate it yourself. You are responsible for your health, especially your mental health.
Killing two birds
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110 Almost every article on brain health leads with the need for more exercise. The brain needs more blood flow to get more oxygen to keep brain cells happy and healthy.
Incorporate a real or virtual walking program with friends. Malls are open again. The outdoors has never been completely shut down. Walking is a great exercise regardless of age. Why not ask a different friend a day to begin real or virtual walks? Walking is exercise. Combine it with social intercourse, and you have an excellent byproduct.
Avoid Entry-Level Mental Health Problems
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-58297-9 Social isolation leads to depression, anxiety, and worse. Relationships counter the detrimental and accumulative effects of isolation. Seclusion and separation also contribute to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Social intercourse is a step in the development of interpersonal relationships.
The pandemic happened to us. Please do not assume that it is our fault. There is no blame to be shared. However, isolation does have a responsibility today. Many avenues improve social activities in our lives.
One step today is to assess if your social relationships are adequate for another year of pandemic restrictions. Yes, another year. Even with vaccinations, I do not expect ‘the old ways’ to be touchable in 2021. Act now to develop new friends, hobbies, activities, etc., for your mental and physical health.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com