In this column, we look at the impact of social isolation and loneliness in the Age of Pandemic.
Loneliness is not a new experience for most people. But the anxieties surrounding this pandemic - the threat of death, financial insecurity, social isolation and all the uncertainties and disruptions to normal life – have created a new reality where many people are feeling overwhelmed. Life has become bleak and loneliness is the new normal. 

Loneliness causes people to feel empty, alone, and unwanted. People who are lonely often crave human contact, but their state of mind makes it more difficult to form connections with other people. Loneliness, according to many experts, is not necessarily about being alone.
We humans are social beings. We are accustomed to connecting and socializing with one another. And when we want to be alone and have some privacy, we can, because it’s a choice we make.
During this pandemic, social distancing has been recommended and even mandated -- and has not been our choice. Circumstances are beyond our control. And because schools are closed and we’re working virtually we find ourselves stuck at home with family members and roommates. 

When will life return to normal?
Will it ever? 
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Stay Safe & Healthy,
Diana and Jan
7 Tips for Handling Loneliness & Isolation
Making the best of a difficult time
by Robert L. Leahy, (B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Yale University), Director of The American Institute
for Cognitive Therapy NYC, completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School under the direction of Dr. Aaron Beck, the founder of cognitive therapy.
Isolation can be difficult for anyone—but especially for people prone to depression and anxiety. It is natural for us to want to connect with people—in fact, solitary confinement in prison is almost lethal for some people.
But staying at home does not mean we have to isolate ourselves from social contact with other people and it does not mean that we have to become passive and ruminate and worry. 
Many people find staying at home can increase their depression and add to their rumination and worry.
Of course, right now we do not know
when that will be, so we need to have a plan—a daily plan and a longer-term plan—to cope with being at home.
Our Featured Doctor
Robert L. Leahy, B.A., M.S., Ph.D
Dr. Leahy has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Forbes, Fortune, Newsweek, 
Psychology Today, Washington Post, Redbook, Shape, First for Women, Women's Health, Self Magazine, USA Today Magazine and many other magazines and newspapers worldwide. He has appeared on national and local radio and on television (20/20, Good Morning America, and The Early Show).

He is the past president of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, past president of the International Association of Cognitive Psychotherapy, past president of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy (NYC), and a clinical professor of psychology in psychiatry at Weill-Cornell University Medical School.
He is author and editor of 27 books, including Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders.
Dr Leahy's 7 Tips
There are a lot of things that we can do from our homes while we minimize the risk of infection.
My team at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy has been generating a lot of great ideas for coping with the isolation so many of us are going through. We have shared a number of creative and very helpful ideas with our clients and ourselves on how to manage the difficulties of isolation.
Here are some of the ideas that our team has come up with.
(I am sure that you have lots of great ideas, too. Let us know about them.)
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When our world changes quickly and suddenly because of things like COVID-19, it is common to experience changes in our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Feelings of anxiety, fear or worry are typical in stressful situations.
by Dr. Tracey Marks
Tracey Marks, M.D., is an Atlanta psychiatrist and psychotherapist, specializing in the interplay between mind and body, and how it shapes our quality of life.
Will the quarantine ruin your marriage?
Today’s video is about dealing with relationship problems in this period of quarantine and social distancing. This is based on a question from Claire.

Remember everyone is affected by this pandemic. We’re all hurting, so none of us are operating at our best right now and we all handle stress in different ways.

The stress of this pandemic makes us fall back to our native coping mechanisms whatever those are. These native coping mechanisms can create friction in your relationships as you spend more time together.
What do you do about this? First you pick your battles. You only want to deal the most pressing issues. Now is not the time to fix your relationship or your partner.

Next you want to create some personal time away. This can give you some sense of control of having your own time and space. If you have a small home or an apartment, find some part of your home or even outside as a place where you can go and be alone. Schedule that alone time so that people in your home can respect your space. If there’s nowhere to go without being around someone, wear headphones as a makeshift way to tune out.

Lastly you want to look at how you’re coping with this crisis. You can’t change other people, but you can work on yourself.
Directory and Reviews for Online Therapy
Online Counseling Directory
The Online Counseling Directory is an international directory that provides a platform that connects people with therapists all over the world. The Online Counseling Directory also provides resources and guidance to therapists that wish to take their practice online with podcasts and documents that help you get started.
Please stay safe and healthy

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