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Dealing with Loneliness

Our Human needs are arranged as a hierarchy. As stated in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs the base of our needs are: psychological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist who was best known for creating this model, provides the theory that fulfilling innate human needs can culminate in self-actualization. He states that individuals must satisfy lower needs in order to move though the hierarchy for higher levels of growth. The foundation of a human's basic needs are food, water, shelter and safety. But, the core of our intrinsic needs are love and belonging. At a time like this, I’m sure many of us are experiencing a lack of love, and as isolating continues, lack of belonging.

He states that individuals must satisfy lower need in order to move though the hierarchy for higher levels of growth

Ontario‘s first case of Covid-19 was January 25, 2020. On March 17 Canada declared a state of emergency, and from that day on our Country has been in a constant state of change trying to flatten the curve of the virus. We have been asked to stop gathering with people, we must shop alone, and only go out if absolutely essential. At a time like this, feeling lonely is completely normal. I’d like to talk about some things that we can do in order to help alleviate some of the feelings of loneliness.

As we can see in the chart above, love and belonging are essential for our growth and well-being as a human species, and a cornerstone for our psychological needs. And so human connection, or at the very least, keeping in contact with loved ones is so important. During the great depression people used written communication in order to keep in contact with the people they cared about. Last week I wrote a Facebook post reaching out to anyone with a child my son's age interested in pen pal writing - if you are at least 30, you hopefully know what a pen pal is - and I had such a great response. He’s written letters to people in New Brunswick and in Florida. We’re excited to see how this unfolds for him. We are very fortunate to have interactive forms of communication like Face Time, Skype, Facebook Messenger, and Zoom. I’ve seen people hosting workouts in groups, Easter dinners, I even heard a story of a mother and daughter talking over the phone while watching a movie. So how can we continue to foster strong relationships while adhering to the guidelines set out by our healthcare professionals? The opportunities are endless! Do you know somebody who teaches paint parties? Maybe you can arrange an online paint party for you and some friends! How about a book club? Is there a hobby that you did face-to-face that, if you put a creative spin on it, you could do over the phone or web? Is there something you’ve been dying to learn, a book you’ve been wanting to read, or something you’ve been meaning to say to someone? Can you reach out for an accountability partner and work on a goal with someone else? Your goal doesn’t have to be the same, but it would be someone that you could share the excitement with or look for encouragement when you aren’t feeling motivated. I’m going to encourage you to seize the moment and use this opportunity to go for it.

Remember, we are in this together, you are not alone.

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