Top Ten Tips to Avoid Feeling Too Isolated
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MHSc in Translational Research

As public health officials work to slow the spread of COVID-19, most provinces across the country have recommended social distancing and self-quarantining. While these actions can help slow the spread, they can have negative effects on your mental health.

This pandemic has exacerbated an epidemic of loneliness. If you’re feeling stressed out, isolated, and lonely, you’re not alone. Our sessional instructor, Jean Chow shared insightful tips to help mitigate these effects.

Jean Chow for the TRP | October 2020

Photo Credit: Sergey Zolkin, Upsplash – Photos for everyone

Having called six out of seven continents “home” – here are my Top 10 Tips on having it all while working and living on your own (or with your family):

  1. Keeping a journal – digital or paper – gives you a place to offload your thoughts. And if inspired, you may wish to contribute to blogs and create a persona and engage audiences on social media platforms.
  2. Whether you live in a condo, apartment building, or a house, do something nice for your neighbours. It could be as simple and easy as asking if you can pick something up for them if you are making a trip to the grocery store.
  3. Connect with nature. Walking meditation helps. Here’s a good one in “Peace is Every Step” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh.
  4. Meditate and breathe even for 5 minutes will help refresh and clear your mind.
  5. Learn something new! With so many ways to access learning online – YouTube, IGTV, Coursera, etc., we are so fortunate. However, I’m sad to see people gather outside the Toronto Public Library, trying to log in – having universal access should be a right.
  6. Some people establish new routines immediately. It gives us a sense of control. Creatives like some semblance of order while also allowing (and sometimes scheduling) time for letting our minds wander and be free.
  7. Move! Make sure you move! Don’t sit in front of your computer all day long. Stretch! Jump! Dance! Do the Wonder Woman power pose made famous by Professor Amy Cuddy! With over 56 million views to date, watch her (of course, while standing up) 2012 TED Talk: “Your body language may shape who you are”. “We know our minds can change our bodies but can our bodies change our minds?” ~ Amy Cuddy
  8. Pick up the phone and call someone you love, someone who lives alone, or someone you’ve been thinking of lately.
  9. Identify someone you can help by introducing them to someone in your network who can help, mentor, and share their expertise and experience.
  10. Breathe and be thankful for all that you have at this moment.

The universe will unfold as it should. Meanwhile, stay safe, be well, and take care. COVID-19 is not forever.


Jean Chow is a TRP Sessional Lecturer teaching “Hacking the Networking Code” and guest blogger for the Translational Research Program. Born and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Jean graduated from the Saskatchewan Polytechnic with a Diploma in Accounting and studied Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. She completed her “Digital Marketing Management” certificate at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies in 2018 and is now working towards her “Strategic Copywriting and Advanced Marketing” Certificates for Spring 2021. Jean is currently focused on her successful professional coaching practice, aptly known on social media as @MsBizWiz, and teaches networking, leadership, persuasive communication and negotiation, and advanced career management at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, and Seneca College, and. She is passionate about working with youth, students, graduates, entrepreneurs, and internationally educated professionals. Jean is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth the Second Diamond Jubilee medal for her volunteer mentoring of young entrepreneurs. She has lived and worked in audit and finance in Zambia and Indonesia on technical assistance teams on international aid projects with Global Affairs Canada. An avid World Masters Squash player, rock climber, runner, and lifelong learner, Jean’s superpower is her innate ability to connect the seemingly unconnected.