Loneliness at the times of Corona

Humans are social beings: cut them off the basic human interaction and they might get sick simply because of loneliness, anxiety and sadness. As a response to the global pandemic we are advised to adopt social distancing. Older people are openly asked to stay at home. Add to this the fact that we are daily bombarded by the negative messages about sick and dead, that we are pretty much restrained in our movements and that we do not know how long it will all last. How can one cope with all this?

Bloggers write how they started to re-invent their family dynamics and dedicate more time to beloved ones. But another side of the medal is stress because of shattered work-life balance. Professional intrudes private. Private interferes with professional. The borderline between two is very vague. And if you have children, you know what I mean. Kids do not care about the concept of “home-office”.

Couples also have to undertake a relationship-exam: how not to slip into argument, boredom and monotony? How to remain lucid, supportive and positive? Many are going through hard times feeling overwhelmed by each other or drowning in emotional collapse. And yes, cases of violence in intimate relationship increased during the period of imposed physical isolation.

What about older people? Those who almost became scapegoats in this horror-film called “coronavirus pandemic”. Those, for whom any small social exchange, is like a sip of the fresh air. Those, who are sometimes not able to substitute genuine interaction by virtual exchange. How do they feel?

And all the lonely people…

And all the people who are scared to lose their jobs…

And all the people who lost their jobs already…



People suffering from anxiety…

All of us.

What we all really need now is a big hug. To get the feeling of closeness and human connection. To feel safe. To feel that we are not alone. To feel that it is ok to be sad. It is ok not to be perfect. It is ok to be scared. It is human. The hug is on demand like never before. But because of the social distancing hugs just like kisses or handshakes are tabooed. So, we hug… trees. At least this is so far allowed.


Picture: Zaher Aljamous

Trees cannot cry like humans but they can accept our tears. Trees are the pulse of the Earth and they sustain us with energy even if we do not always realize it. As long as there are trees, we know that the universe is alive and tomorrow will be another day. Trees make us alive by providing oxygen. They calm us down simply by whispering with the leaves at the wind or magnetising us with all shades of green. Hug a tree. And feel here and now.

Then get back to reality and call your (grand)parents. Smile to the stranger on the sidewalk. Chat with your buddies. Write a letter to the pen-pall. Watch a comedy with your beloved ones. Make a shopping for the granny next door. Draw something with your kids and mail it to somebody. Play an instrument from your balcony for others to hear.

Everything passes. And coronavirus will pass as well. Hug a tree. Change your mind.

This article was inspired by the Instagram post and a picture made by Zaher Aljamous. Thank you, Zaher, for making us think what really matters.

Über Anna Butan

Anna speaks French, German, English and Russian. She obtained a Master Degree at the University of Bern (Cultural Studies) and a Bachelor at the Lomonosov Moscow State University (Philology). Anna has big interest in such themes as: identity, cultural hybridity, music, and raising children in multicultural context. She is convinced that our children can teach us a lot. They are not born with stereotypes but they risk to acquire them later under external circumstances. Our task as parents is to help them grow as conscious and culture-aware humans.

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