Humans are “obligatorily gregarious”. We need other people. When we don't have the connections we need, we suffer. We suffer emotionally with depression, anxiety, and hyper-vigilance. But we can also suffer physically with symptoms like high blood pressure and heart disease.

In these days, we are all isolated. Some more, some less. Our usual ways of connecting are not available to us. Meetings are not face-to-face, but screen-to-screen. When I'm on a “Zoom call”, I can't look you in the eyes when I'm talking to you. When I'm looking at you on the screen, you see me looking down or to the side. When I am looking the camera, I can't see you. Our connection is not complete.

Luckily, there are some things we can do to reduce the impact of this isolation. That can help to make us feel more connected. First, breathe. Breathe consciously. Inhale, then take a little more time to exhale. Breathe through your nose (yes, really!) Right now. Breathe in. Pause. Breathe out slowly. Do it again.

Now… Cross your arms and put your hands on your shoulders. Give yourself a hug. Bring your hands down your arms to your elbows and then on to your wrists. Do it again. Do you feel a little calmer? A little more connected? I do.

Take time to connect. Find a meeting (online if not in person). You need it now, more than ever.

Upcoming topics

Upcoming, we want to talk about being “irritable and unreasonable”. When have you found yourself “irritable and unreasonable without knowing it”, as our suggested meeting opening says? How do you recognize that you are descending into that state of being? What tools do you use to get out of it and return to “serene and reasonable”?

Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.


Simon & Garfunkel – The Only Living Boy in New York
Phoebe Bridgers – Graceland Too

1 comment on “The Impact of Isolation — 335

  1. Katharine says:

    Hi, Spencer –

    Thanks for this. I, too, didn’t realize the subtle stressors of recent times. When you don’t face the more obvious life changes that some do – loss of a job, illness, fear of eviction, loss of a loved one – it’s easy to shrug off the emotional and mental toll of day to day life during a pandemic. It took some very angry outburts (unusual for me) to realize I was clearly irritable and unreasonable. I finally became aware of my feelings and accepted that I needed help. Now I listen to one podcast per day, right after posting in an online meeting. And I feel much better.

    Thanks for your work!

    Best from Wisconsin,


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