May 16, 2023

It’s not just you – by Martha Evans Morris, LCSW

As a therapist, I see clients who struggle with a variety of life stressors — many
exacerbated by feelings of social isolation, lack of meaningful connection or loneliness.
In my own life, I have recently entered the stage in which our children no longer live at
home most of the year. Without the buzz of teenagers’ schedules and energy in the
house – it can feel a little, well, lonely.

At the beginning of this month, the U.S. Surgeon General released an 85-page report
entitled Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation. In it we learn the scary news that,
like smoking, loneliness can take years off our life, and more people are reporting
feeling socially isolated and lonely than ever before. The tone of the report is somewhat
dire and calls this an “urgent public health issue”.

So you can imagine – after reading the report, not only was I feeling lonely and
concerned about the lack of connection and isolation of many of my clients — I was
now worried about the years being taken off our lives as well! It was like pouring salt in
a wound.

If we’re already isolated, how are we supposed to change the feeling of being isolated?
Many of us rarely see our neighbors and we can’t even see inside car windows
anymore – is anyone in there? Our strong values of individualism and privacy,
combined with the greater number of folks now working from home, means we are
entrenched in our separateness.

The recommendations for individuals on page 66 of the report are a start—but they
weren’t concrete enough to make me feel better. So after I took a deep breath, I came
up with some doable things that can improve our own feelings of isolation and
loneliness in our lives as they are today:


  1. Leave a Reply

    May 20, 2023

    Thank you for this! Well said. Actionable and very relevant.

  2. Leave a Reply

    Rich Stein
    February 16, 2024

    I love these suggestions! I’m glad to see that I am doing a lot of these ideas already, but reading about them reinforces their importance.

Leave a Reply

Posted in: Uncategorized