Emotional Support in Isolation: Developing a Virtual Support Network
There are many reasons why you may be feeling isolated socially, physically, and emotionally from others. The toll that COVID has taken on our mental health and wellbeing is significant, and we won’t even know the full impact of our isolation and lack of in-person interactions for quite some time. But we do know that when you are physically and socially isolated from others including friends, family and colleagues, your emotional support suffers. Emotional support is necessary for people to stave off depression, anxiety, and a whole host of other concerns. It’s much easier to manage your stress when you are able to share your burden emotionally with others. But when that emotional support is taken away or is no longer available, it’s you who suffers the most.
So how can you manage when your emotional support is absent, and there are no options for you to obtain this from your current circle of friends, family or colleagues? I would suggest that putting effort into develop a virtual support network would be time and energy well invested. A virtual support network, or online support system, can be vital to get your emotional support needs met when you’re not able to access your regular peeps or support system. But it’s not so easy to just jump online and get instant support from others. Here are some suggestions to try as you’re working towards developing your own virtual support network.
In what areas do you need emotional support?
Are you most missing out on work conversations with colleagues, or commiseration from other new moms who are struggling with getting your baby to sleep? Or perhaps you miss your hobby or sport that you used to do, and just want to talk to others who share your similar interests. Many people also go into a “rut” or start to feel down when they are not around others, so perhaps you’re just looking to share resources and get support from others who are in a similar situation. Once you’re able to identify in what areas you need or want some extra support, it is then easier to seek out those resources.
How do you want to get your emotional support needs met?
Next, you’ll want to decide how you can meet your emotional support needs based on what areas you’re looking for support in. Do you enjoy talking more one-on-one with others, and developing deeper connections through shared experiences? Or maybe you’re looking for a group to join where you can get alternative perspectives from many people instead of just one. Or maybe you prefer interacting via written communication better, such as through email, writing, or texting. Once you decide on the format for your virtual support network, then you can progress to who can meet your needs.
Who can meet your emotional support needs?
In the past, your friends, family or work colleagues may have met your emotional support needs. But now it feels like you might need something a little extra. Perhaps you’re hoping to work with a professional for more emotional support, such as a therapist or counselor. There are also groups out there for almost anything nowadays, and many groups have online offerings. Support groups for almost any issue have popped up, especially over the past year, and it’s highly likely you can find a support group that meets your need. Support groups can be either peer-led or facilitated by a professional. Therapy groups that center around a certain topic are also becoming more popular, so that you get the benefit of group support while also learning particular skills.
Make your final choices
Do your research and narrow down your choices to add to your virtual support network. It is possible to join an online support group for women professionals to help ease your work stress, see an individual therapist for some anxiety that is getting worse, and do online bingo with your alma mater weekly for socialization. So many options exist out there nowadays for virtual options to help meet your emotional support needs, you just have to do a bit of searching to find out what is right for you at this point in time.
Making sure that your emotional support needs are met is not a luxury anymore. To stave off depression and anxiety while you’re physically and socially isolated, you may have to work harder than you did before to find your support network, but it is possible and you will reap great benefits if you’re able to do it. If you’re interested in learning more about the online and virtual support that Catalyss Counseling provides to our clients, check out our Group Therapy and Individual Therapy options. You can get back into emotional shape by leveraging the power of your virtual support network!
How We Can Help
We are currently enrolling for our support groups for both men and women!
For professional men who are ready to go from feeling alone in your struggles to understanding how to make healthy changes in your life and getting accountability for your actions.
Click here for more information on the Men's Support Group
For busy women who are ready to go from overwhelmed and exhausted to thriving and feeling connected, without ever leaving your home.
Click here for more information on the Women's Support Group
If you are looking for general support, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how we can help you, follow these simple steps:
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Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:
Here at Catalyss Counseling, we want to meet all of your counseling needs in the Denver area. Our supportive therapists provide depression counseling, therapy for caregiver stress, grief and loss therapy, stress management counseling and more. We also have specialists in trauma and PTSD, women's issues, pregnancy and postpartum depression or anxiety, pregnancy loss and miscarriage, and birth trauma. For therapists, we can also provide clinical supervision! We look forward to connecting with you to help support your journey today.
Shannon Heers is a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, guest blogger, and owner of Catalyss Counseling in Englewood, CO. Shannon helps adults in professional careers manage anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.