What to Do if Diminished Social Life Hurts Mental Health

The physical and mental health threats of COVID-19 are real and well-documented, but if you’re simply feeling bummed about missing your buddies, canceled pickup sports leagues, or—hell—your commute, that’s valid. The pandemic is affecting mental health in myriad ways.

“The isolation many are experiencing is one of the most devastating things about this moment,” says Avi Klein, LCSW, a New York-based therapist who specializes in men’s mental health.

See, human beings are hardwired for connection, explains Paul L. Hokemeyer, PhD, LMFT, a psychotherapist and author of Fragile Power: Why Having It All Is Never Enough. “Social connectedness is essential for our survival. It enables us to adapt to challenges and evolve as a species. Without social connections, we physically and emotionally atrophy.”

That’s well-documented, too. Some studies suggest loneliness and social isolation could be twice as detrimental to both your physical and mental health as obesity is.

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