Posted by Steve Lettau on Nov 05, 2020

Throughout the pandemic, members are discovering ways to connect, cope, and care for each other and people in the communities they serve.

by Joseph Derr

Social distancing, self-quarantines, and lockdowns, all of which have been necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19, help keep us safe but also isolate us, creating feelings of loneliness and anxiety.

Rotary clubs are rising to the challenge to mitigate these negative effects, both in their clubs and beyond. Along the way, members are discovering new ways to serve.

The science of connection

Physical isolation, compounded by the stress of the health crisis and its disruption to daily life, is having a psychological impact. The Lancet, a leading medical journal, published a review of previous studies that found a high incidence of irritability, depression, and emotional exhaustion among people in quarantine. Another recent study that focused on China in early 2020 found that anxiety increased during quarantines, especially among the elderly, who are more likely to live alone.

Why do we suffer psychologically when we’re isolated physically? For Sylvia Whitlock, a semi-retired marriage and family therapist and member of the Rotary Club of Claremont, California, USA, the answer is simple: “Isolation is a stress-producing state, as one of our human needs is for connections.”