Fighting Loneliness During Quarantine

Fighting Loneliness During Quarantine

Not many of us have ever experienced the kind of isolation that this COVID-19 pandemic has brought about. While quarantine for some has been a welcomed break from the hustle and bustle of life and a chance to spend more quality time with the family, for others it has been an incredibly lonely experience away from coworkers, friends, and those they love and need most.

In addition, and to make matters worse, loneliness can make managing stress more difficult. And let’s be honest, we are all surrounded by stress these days from worrying about when the world will open up again, when we can start working and earning a living and when life will get back to normal.

Fighting Loneliness in Healthy Ways

Sadly, during times like these, many people turn to alcohol and other substances as a way to cope with stress and loneliness. But there are healthier ways you can fight it.

Plan to Stay Connected

During this time it’s important to create a plan to safely stay in regular contact with family and friends. If you are an older person, be sure to confirm who you can reach out to if you need help getting food, medications, and other supplies.

Leverage Technology

While many of us still cannot be in the same space as our loved ones, we are very lucky we live in a time when phones and digital technology can help us all stay connected. Be sure to schedule regular phone calls and online video chats using apps like Skype or FaceTime.

Get in Touch with Old Friends

Most of us, at some point in our life, lose touch with friends and acquaintances we once shared our lives with. Now is the perfect time to reconnect. And social media makes it very easy to find someone you may have lost contact with years ago.

Seek Help

During this pandemic, many counselors and therapists are helping clients via telehealth services. This means instead of going into a therapist’s office, you can speak to them on the phone or over a video conference. A therapist can help you navigate this forced isolation and offer coping strategies to get you through.

If you or someone you love is having a difficult time dealing with loneliness right now, please reach out to me. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.



Normative Male Alexithymia: Let’s Talk About It

There’s an old joke that goes a little something like this:

Two women sit next to one another in the park, chatting.

The first woman turns to the other and asks, “Does your husband talk to you?”

And the other woman replies, “All the time! He asks me what’s for dinner, he asks me if he has clean socks. Once he asked me how the microwave worked.”

(cue laughter)

There is usually a shred of reality and truth in jokes like this one, and I can see how and why this one got started. Traditionally, men have not always been comfortable talking about their emotions.

Normative Male Alexithymia is a very clinical sounding term that describes when men have tremendous difficulty putting their emotional experience into words. This can often put relationships on the ice because generally women need to talk about emotions to feel a connection, and men often “just can’t go there.”

Men and Women are Wired Differently

By now we all know men and women are from very different planets, but there are some striking differences in particular to how we communicate. For instance, did you know women typically use twice as many words as men? While women speak at 250 words per minute, men typically speak at around 125, according to Gary Smalley, author of Making Love Last Forever. That means over the course of the day, women speak about 25,000 words and men 12,000.

Men and women also have different conversational styles. Women often talk fast and become very animated. And it’s not unlike them to excitedly interrupt their partner, who may be struggling to find the right words to begin with. This can cause many men to shut down because they are already having a hard time expressing how they feel.

And speaking of feelings, women can think and feel at the same time, but men can do only one at a time. So when a woman wants to “talk” that generally means she is expecting her man to think and feel at the same time, and men’s brains are simply not wired that way.

Understanding how men and women are different when it comes to communication can go a long way. It can help women empathize with men instead of always feeling frustrated at their lack of interest in opening up. It’s not that they don’t want to feel close with you, they just don’t do it in the same way women do.

Something else that can help is working with a therapist who can facilitate open communication and ensure both parties feel safe and supported in sharing their thoughts and feelings.

If you are having difficulty talking with your partner and would like to explore treatment options, please be in touch. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.



Senior Dating: 4 Tips to Finding Your Silver Mojo

Dating. It’s not easy at any age, but it can be downright tough for those in the 60+ category. The world has most likely changed significantly since the last time you may have dated. You yourself have also changed. Love, loss, careers, raising a family, etc. have all impacted who you are and how you feel about life and the world around you.

While it may feel intimidating at first, dating after the age of 60 can actually be a lot of fun. It will require you to perhaps adjust your mindset and find some courage, but once you put yourself out there, you might be surprised just how easy it is to connect with others in both platonic and romantic ways.


Here are some dating tips to get you started:

Practice Smiling

Many people, as they get older, smile less. Perhaps they are missing loved ones who have passed, are struggling with retirement, or are in chronic physical pain. But smiling is something that lights up our faces and instantly attracts other people to us. If you feel you haven’t been smiling as much as you used to, get back into the habit. Watch some favorite comedies, hang out with your grandkids more often and play with the neighbor’s dog. The more you smile, the better you feel and more attractive you become.

Start a Conversation

Now is not the time to be shy. If you see someone that catches your eye while out at a coffee shop or standing in line at the grocery store, strike up a conversation. You could say something as simple as, “Are the bagels good here” or “I always seem to pick the busiest times to shop.” The idea is to simply start a conversation and see where it goes. If nothing else, you may make some new coffee shop friends!

Focus on Your Interests

You’ll have a better chance of meeting a potential partner who is like-minded if you focus on your interests and hobbies. If you like art and culture, then spend more time at museums or the bookstore. Are you a dog nut? Then perhaps volunteer at a local animal shelter. Focusing on your own hobbies and interests will bring you joy at the same time, and that joy will make you incredibly attractive to others.

Go Online

Sites like and make it incredibly easy for you to look for potential dates online. You can browse hundreds of profiles at your own pace and reach out to those people who strike your fancy. Don’t assume that online dating is for younger people. It’s for anyone with an internet connection and a desire to meet people.


If you follow these tips, you’ll have no problem meeting new and wonderful people. And who knows, one of them could be that special someone.

5 Warning Signs It’s Time to Try Couples Counseling

When you first fell in love, you could never imagine that someday the sound of your partner chewing could make you want to scream. It’s inevitable that once we are out of our honeymoon phase and reality sets in, we realize that all relationships take work and compromise. But while some couples may hit bumps in the road every so often, other couples find themselves in bigger trouble, with neither party knowing exactly how to fix things.

If you are in a relationship that is no longer feeling healthy, here are 5 warning signs that it may be time to try couples counseling:

1. There is No Longer Healthy Communication

Once you have a communication breakdown, you are unable to rationally share thoughts, feelings, and concerns with each other. Beyond this, unhealthy communication tends to leave one or both partners feeling depressed, angry and hopeless.

2. Trust Has Been Broken

When there has been infidelity, it is very difficult for the couple to rebuild trust and repair the damage. While there is no magic pill to recover from an affair, a therapist can offer tools and strategies to rebuild trust.

3. You’re More Like Roommates

If you and your partner act more like roommates than romantic partners, this indicates a lack of intimacy and a potential need for professional help.

4. One or Both of You Has Begun Acting Out

You try to mask your real feelings for as long as possible, but then you start to act out the hurt and resentment you may be feeling. For instance, if your partner has been unfaithful and you have agreed to stay in the relationship and work things out. But over time you find yourself lashing out, acting rude and trying to make them believe you are having an affair so they will feel the same kind of hurt. This acting out is unhealthy for both people and is a BIG indicator you need to seek some help.

5. When the Only “Solution” Seems to be Separation/Divorce

A break from negative energy can be very helpful to the relationship. But when a temporary break leads to more and more time away from home and someone renting their own apartment, this indicates a need for counseling. Spending time away from home usually doesn’t lead to any real resolution, just more distance.


If you and your partner are interested in exploring treatment options, please be in touch with me. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

How to Set Healthy Boundaries

Relationships can only be healthy when both people have the space to be themselves and maintain their personal integrity. Sadly, many people find themselves in relationships, romantic and otherwise, with people who do not respect boundaries and feel entitled to have their needs met regardless of the other person’s. These people most likely grew up in households that were unsafe and unstable, and where there was a constant invasion of personal boundaries.

If you can relate, chances are you have a hard time creating healthy boundaries to create the life experience you wish to have. Here are some ways you can begin to do so:

Identify Your Limits

You can’t set boundaries unless you discover where it is you personally stand. You’ll need to take a bit of time to recognize what you can and cannot tolerate. What makes you happy and what makes you feel uncomfortable and stressed? Only until you have made these discoveries can you move on to the next steps.

Don’t Be Shy

People who have similar communication styles are easy to engage with. These people will quickly understand what your new barriers are. But people who have a different cultural background or personality may not easily understand your boundaries. With these people, it’s important to be very clear and direct.

Pay Attention to Your Feelings

People who have a hard time setting boundaries don’t often allow themselves to acknowledge their own feelings because they’re usually too busy worrying about everyone else’s.

You’ll need to start recognizing how people make you feel in order to know whether your new boundaries are being crossed or not. When you’re with someone, make mental notes, or even jot down in a journal how that interaction made you feel.

If, after spending time with someone, you feel anger or resentment, this is a sign that the person may be overstepping your boundaries. Reiterate to this person what your boundaries are. If they continue to disrespect you and them, you will want to cut yourself away from further interactions.

Make Self-Care a Priority

Put yourself and your needs first. This may feel strange and even somehow wrong if you’ve spent your entire life taking care of others. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings and get what you need to feel happy and well.

Speak with Someone

If you’ve spent an entire life with a sense of low self-worth, you may find setting boundaries quite difficult. In this case, it’s important to speak with a therapist that can help you discover where these feelings are coming from and how to change your thought patterns and behavior.

If you’d like to explore therapy, please get in touch with me. I would be happy to help you on your journey toward self-care.