Do you want to know how to deal with isolation? I know firsthand what it feels like to feel alone and anxious.
I have suffered through Crohn’s disease, a 7-year family estrangement, job changes, downsizing homes, and other difficult life issues, but the most recent trial was one of the hardest because it happened to my daughter.
She suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to a car wreck and two direct hits to the head (from passing out) all within a short amount of time.
She suffered from headaches, slow processing, light sensitivity, balance issues, nausea, and depression. In fact, the physical therapist said it was one of the worst types of head injuries she had seen in a patient. This diagnosis was from someone who treated the Dallas Cowboys and pro soccer players for head injuries.
The concussion not only affected my daughter, but it impacted our whole family. Someone had to stay with her all the time to care for her.
She was isolated at home, in a dark room, for months. Sadly, the doctor could not tell us if or when she would get better. I was fearful she would never get better. I felt all alone.
Perhaps you too are feeling lonely. You are a stay-at-home mom, you work at home, or you or a family member are ill. Maybe you are suffering from great fear due to the unknown and no one knows.
Whatever the case, I am writing to you. God has not forgotten you, nor has he played a cruel joke on you and your family. What you think is horrible, God will use for good if you let Him.
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How to Deal with Isolation and Anxiety
When my daughter was first injured, we didn’t know how to deal with isolation. Over time we realized the healing process was going to be slow and painful. In fact, it would require an enormous amount of patience.
To add insult to injury, her twenty-first birthday landed during that time period. It felt like the timing couldn’t have been worse.
It seemed so unfair.
The thing we struggled with the most was how long it was going to last. Daily I came to God with my anxiety and worries but found very few answers. It seemed like He wasn’t there.
Somewhere in the middle of the trial, God started answering. I found Him telling me over and over again that we would not deal with isolation one more second than He allowed. That her suffering was not in vain. And neither was mine.
He was accomplishing something that would take time to resolve. I finally had to give over the question of timing and trust that God was not out to get me or my child.
Whatever time that had been allotted was bound by His command. It would relent when He was done working out His plan. This is how to deal with isolation: One day at a time, one hour at a time, and sometimes, one minute at a time; trusting God to get you through to the next thing.
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What Does Isolation Feel Like?
If you have been isolated for any amount of time, you understand what it feels like to be cut off from the world.
It doesn’t take long for depression, fear, anxiety, and anger to settle in.
Because my daughter had to be in a dark room, depression hit her like a gorilla swinging a wrecking ball. We were all grieving her loss, but she felt it deeper than I could ever fathom. That was hard to witness as a mother. Truthfully, my heart was broken into a million pieces.
I didn’t go into a deep depression, although I was depressed some days… but I did suffer from fear. Question after question kept me up at night. I spent hours online researching remedies, doctors, treatments, etc. trying to fix my daughter’s brain.
Some mornings I woke up in sheer panic as I faced another day that looked the same as the day before. It seemed my prayers were hitting the ceiling, and we were going to be trapped forever in that spot. I struggled with how to deal with isolation because I didn’t know when it would end. You may feel the same way.
Like your crisis is never going to end. But it does, eventually.
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How to Deal with Isolation From Family
Another emotion I felt was anger. I didn’t understand why God would allow my daughter to be ripped away from her college, her friends…even her extended family. And without notice. One day our lives were busy and fruitful, the next day we were home alone, sidelined indefinitely.
I was left alone in my home with no foreseeable way out. I was angry at God for taking my precious daughter’s life away and putting her on hold with no explanation.
The last emotion I felt was frustration with my husband. The trial put a huge strain on our marriage as we were trying to unify on a plan to help my daughter get well. We both had different ideas.
To complicate matters, my daughter was twenty-one and didn’t have to do anything either of us suggested. And she didn’t for a good while. That was fun…
We were in a pickle. It took a while to unravel all the components, but over time we did. Thankfully, she did come through it completely by God’s grace.
Although it was hard, there were some good things we learned to do through our trial. If you want to know how to deal with isolation and anxiety check out these tips.
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Strategies for Coping with Isolation and Loneliness
Here is how to deal with isolation and loneliness. Check out these seven suggestions I (eventually) did after months and months of being alone (and questioning God):
1. Embrace your calling when you feel lonely
It took me a while but I finally realized my calling for that time period was to help my daughter get back on her feet. Perhaps you are not dealing with a physical injury, but you are at home alone with kids all day. Or you are experiencing sickness, an injury of some kind, or it’s just summer and you think you may snatch a kid bald-headed before school starts…
After a while, it is hard to have a good attitude. Whatever your lot, embrace this moment to love those who are at home with you despite your anger, frustration, or fear. Take advantage of the time to repair relationships that may be broken. Or strengthen ones that have been neglected. This is how to deal with isolation in a positive way.
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2. Stay connected with friends and family
Stay in touch and let friends and family know you are feeling alone and isolated. It helps to talk about your feelings and make plans for a future time of fellowship. Facetime, Skype, and Zoom make it easier than ever to connect when you can’t be there in person.
3. Let go of control and fear
Let go of all your expectations. You are not in control.
I had to realize God was not only working on me, but He was also working on my daughter. This was going to take time. I wish there were an easier way to zap us into the likeness of Jesus, but we are fallen creatures. Unfortunately, we don’t learn very fast.
If you want to know how to deal with isolation, I suggest you let go of everything. Trust that God is working in his way and in His time. Stop toiling. Do what you can and let God do the rest.
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4. Find joy in the simplest things
Find something fun to do when you are isolated. Take a long bath, paint your nails, find a good book, make a fun meal, clean out closets, or start writing. You can make life interesting no matter how bad it is. (Yes, I have some very clean closets, and I am still pruny from all the time I spent in the bathtub.)
I read books to my daughter while she was in bed. We listened to music and podcasts, when her head allowed it. We tried to find humor in even the worst of times. I listened to her when she wanted to talk (since I had nowhere to go).
I found joy in the smallest things. A smile, a laugh, or time outside in the sun. We celebrated even the smallest of accomplishments such as walking down the street, time talking to a friend, or fewer doses of medicine.
The best thing we did was to buy a dog. She still brings us joy every day. This is definitely how to deal with isolation in a fun way!
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5. Exercise every day to help with anxiety
If you want to know how to deal with isolation, I suggest you get outside and walk if it is possible.
Run, do stretches, lift weights–whatever is available. It will help you when you feel stir crazy. It will not only strengthen you physically but emotionally.
Depression can hit very fast. It only takes a few days to set in so be vigilant in keeping this at bay.
6. Watch how you cope when feeling isolated
Watch for unhealthy coping mechanisms as you deal with isolation. Whatever you do in moderation may kick up to full drive during this time of stress. Many people turn to drugs, alcohol, or other addictions to pass the time.
I found myself eating a few too many chips late at night when I couldn’t sleep. Ten pounds later, I realized what I was doing. It was hard to stop, but I did.
7. Pray when feeling lonely
I spent a lot of time praying on behalf of my daughter. My husband and I both fasted many times. I have always seen the biggest mountains moved when fasting is added to prayer.
I knew that God wanted to use my time of isolation as a tool to refine my heart. And so I let Him. Miraculously, I saw God work during those four months of isolation. In fact, most of the breakthroughs came when my daughter started praying too.
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Coping with Social Isolation: What We Learned Alone and Together
Thankfully, our isolation ended. And yours will too. We learned how to deal with isolation and anxiety day by day, and it brought some wonderful things.
Here are the truths my daughter learned:
- Your identity is not defined by what other people think. It is defined by what God thinks.
- When you focus on yourself all the time, your mental health can become extremely unhealthy.
- Family is so important.
- God’s Word is true no matter what.
- Social media is addictive and can sometimes lead to mental health issues.
- Satan loves to isolate us and tell us we are the only ones going through a trial.
- God will never leave us nor forsake us.
- If it feels like shame, it is from the devil.
- Health is wealth.
- Asking for help is a good thing.
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These are the truths I learned from my time alone:
- God has a reason for our pain. If we had not been isolated together, we would not have worked through other issues that were hurting our relationship.
- God has a plan. He provided a college closer to home that had a better major.
- God answers prayers. I prayed my daughter would be well enough to attend the Christmas Eve service at our church. That was her first time out in a large group and marked the end of our isolation. What a miracle.
- I can trust God in even the worst situations.
- God’s timing is perfect.
- God is in control; I am not.
- Prayer and fasting work!
Coping with isolation and fear is not easy. In fact, it was painful in so many ways because God was stripping us of every idol we thought we had to have to make us happy. Instead, He helped us to see what was truly important in times of crisis–family and faith.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Did these tips on how to deal with isolation help you? Comment below.
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25 thoughts on “How to Deal With Isolation: 7 Best Tips When Feeling Alone”
This was a very encouraging post to read, Julie! So sorry you and your daughter had to go through something like this, but thankful for the way God used it in both of your lives! Thanks for sharing the story and the wonderful tips!
Shanna, just yesterday I was talking to my daughter and she said it was the best thing that happened to her. God redirected her life completely for the better. Thanks for your comment!
What a trial! I hope your daughter is doing well now and she is so blessed that you held onto your faith to get through that. Thank you for sharing
Yes! It was one of the worst trials we have been through. But God… He turned it all around for His good. Not easy to say because I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But when you ask about suffering, this is your answer: What Satan meant for evil, God meant for good. Praise God!
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Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your story Julie! This short isolation is nothing compared to what you and your family had to endure but I love your perspective on coming out of it and what you learned. All in God’s time. Thank you for all the practice tips.
Lindsay, thanks so much for your sweet comment. Isolation is still hard for us, but we can see how God works in the most difficult situations. I hope we all learn how to deal with isolation in this hard time.
these are great tips, i think the isolation is getting to most people
Jasmine, that is true. Learning how to deal with isolation is not an easy thing. The best way is to trust God during the pain.
Isolation is a good way to clear out old trauma and new. I’ve recently found this to be true in my house as well. I am so glad you and your family got through it, your daughter is lucky to have such a strong family.
Leslie, thank you so much. We are blessed. I pray your family stays healthy through this difficult time of isolation. Thanks for your comment.
Despite living in isolation by chance and not by choice due to the pandemic, I just realized I got isolated by some close allies due to issues they did not understand. I looked up to God and prayed. I’m trusting I will overcome. Thanks for your encouraging article.
Judith, I am so sorry you had to pull away from close allies to protect yourself. God can work out so pretty powerful things when you are alone. We have to time to think through things and make changes. Thanks for your comment.
This is awesome! I look up to God, praying and having fun in times of isolation. Thank you for sharing your story and lessons learned ????
Tinashe, wow, I am so glad that isolation is not too bad for you. We could all learn from your positive attitude.
Great tips!! Isolation can be difficult for anyone but especially hard for those dealing with depression. You offer so many great ways to help cope when you’re forced to be isolated.
Emily, it is hard to deal with isolation, especially when you usually have an active social life. It is a good time to turn to God and let him help us through such a difficult time.
What a powerful testimony and encouragement.
Ayanna, thanks for your comment. It is all God.
Praying is so powerful!! I also second working out. Getting some form of exercise, even if it’s quick has helped me SO much
Jenna, I love to get outside and exercise. It immediately snaps me into a better mood. Thanks for your comment.
This is such a powerful testimony in so many areas to encourage others in their faith! Your Daughter is beautiful and her puppy is adorable! My husband and I have both been dealing with multiple health issues which has had us in a somewhat isolated life for over a year. God has been stretching me in my faith and I’m so thankful that He has! He is so good and He is so faithful!
April, I am so sorry you have been living in a semi-isolated state. That is so hard to deal with isolation when it has been a long time alone. I hope you find health and healing soon. Take care.
Fasting has been amazing during this time! Need to focus more on exercise. Great tips!
Carri, I think fasting is such a good way to connect with God in our body, mind, and spirit. He alone can help us break through those difficult days. Thanks for your comment.