On the last day of Chicago Ideas Week, I wanted to listen to attend the finale event so I decided to sign up to volunteer for the first half of the last day. One of the speakers was Celeste Headlee and she spoke on social isolation.
I think that this is so important to talk about, especially now that the weather has turned and the day parties have slowed down. There were times when I first moved back to Chicago that I felt isolated. It is so different when you are visiting “home” for a few weeks and you pre-plan your whirlwind weekends and weeks vs you are living here and people are not excited or breaking their backs to see you. People have their clicks, schedules and just everyday lives. It is tough to dive out there. Luckily for me, I have an extrovert personality and I do a great job of keeping up with people online. So I made a couple of status asking to be invited, sent a couple of group texts and I was back in business. I don’t have the problem now but there are some weekends when people just don’t want to go out with you. Somedays you stay in and some days you venture out alone and hope to run-in people you know or just make some new friends. But one weekend stay in can run into the next and now we are in this weird place of social isolation.
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From Celeste Headlee:
Social Isolation can hurt your immune system. We need our tribe, we need to feel valued and loved and respected. To lack in these areas can lead to a compromised immune. One major issue that social isolation can bring on is asthma.
Many people do not know how to start and it can be scary getting yourself out there.
- Start with conversations that have to be short. It is not as overwhelming and it is ending soon anyway so it is all good.
- Start with people that are paid to be nice to you. These are grocery cashiers, drivers, baristas etc. They are paid to be nice to you so you don’t have to worry about the conversation going south.
Unfortunately, we cannot see if people are mentally hurting. So, when someone says how they are not doing good ask them how bad. Make it a mission to learn from your loved ones and be there if they need to be provided with a space of openness.
Celeste Headlee is the host of the Georgia Public Broadcasting program “On Second Thought.”