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January 11, 2021: Patricia Morgan, "Understanding and Managing Loneliness In a Pandemic."     website: Solutions For Resilience

Robyn Braley introduced our speaker today, Patricia Morgan, wife of our member, Les Morgan.

Patricia is an author of eight books and an expert in strengthening resilience in individuals and organizations. She is an international speaker with the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) and has been nominated for “The Spirit of CAPS” award which is given to one CAPS member each year who has demonstrated a long term, extraordinary level of commitment and dedication to CAPS and demonstrated the spirit of sharing, leading and inspiring others. She has a Master’s degree in Psychology and has been honored by Global TV and the YWCA as a Women of Vision. Patricia has spoken to our club in the past and gave us an overview of her latest book, “Understanding and Managing Loneliness in a Pandemic”.

2020 has changed the way she operates her counselling business as the pandemic has necessitated she provide services via zoom or other online venues. She started her presentation by stating she wished she knew then what she knows now and had asked the question back in April, “Do you feel lonely?” People don’t come forward usually and say they are lonely. There is a stigma associated with that statement that says, I’m a failure or I don’t have any friends.

Loneliness is the discrepancy between what you have and what you want in your relationships.

During COVID-19 it is important that we don’t buy into the myth that, because we are required to physically distance, we are disconnected and inevitably lonely. There are many ways to feel connection. Stop saying we need to “social distance”. We definitely need social relationships. Instead we should say maintain “physical distance”.

Who are the lonely? Some say single people, some say married people, some say single parents, others the poor, the homeless, the disabled, youth, immigrant or the elderly. Youth are in the top decile as they are in the developmental stage and need to get out of the house, explore, be with peers and learn from relationships.

How does loneliness show up? In physical signals such as eating too much, drinking too much, sleep issues (too much/too little). In mental issues such as anxiety, depression or anger. People generally do not say they feel lonely because there is a stigma associated with being a failure. It’s important to measure how much a person would like to be alone.

Levels of Connection – Connection is the antidote for loneliness.

  1. People need one person as a confidante – someone they can feel secure in discussing issues.
  2. Family and friends – people with whom we have commonality.
  3. Sense of Community – aligned with a purpose, such as Rotary or one's church.

How do we activate antidotes for loneliness?

  1. Before we reach out to someone, assess your own level of need for social interaction. There is no concern if you are comfortable with your allotted alone time.
  2. Accept loneliness as a sign that you need to do something different, including reaching out.
  3. Find a purpose that is shared by other people. For example, if homelessness concerns you, volunteer.
  4. Realize that deep friendships take time to develop. Healthy relationships are not quick fixes like take-out food.
  5. Develop quality relationships with people who share similar interests and values as you.

Patricia concluded with a wise observation: Crying is helpful, even for men! “It’s so much better to cry on the outside, rather than drown on the inside.”

Steve Rickard expressed the thanks of the club for Patricia's excellent presentation. He also provided a little wisdom of his own: “Connectedness is often a reason to stay in Rotary”

reported by Mike Carlin

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