I’ve been feeling down, lately, and I bet I’m not alone. In fact, I bet there are millions of us feeling the same way. Maybe even you. Even before the pandemic forced us to embrace social distancing out of necessity, we were already experiencing a loneliness epidemic. This virus basically took an already appalling situation and put it on steroids.
Social science tells us that there are only a few things we can (somewhat) control that bring us joy. These things include family, friendships, community, vocation, and faith—and COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on every last one of them.
If you skipped Thanksgiving this year to protect your loved ones, you have firsthand knowledge of the psychic impact the pandemic has had on family, friends, and community. If you lost your job or business (or even if you just had your workday invaded by “remote learning” for offspring who should be at school), your vocation has been, at a minimum, hobbled. And even if your religious faith is strong, you are probably worshipping online and thereby missing the communal and spiritual benefits of gathering together with like-minded believers.