How has the increase in remote working impacted mental health, connection and loneliness for academics?
10th May 2022
Author: Dr Janet C Kimeto, University of Kabianga
In 2016, I faced the toughest year of my life as I lost my husband. It was very hard mentally, taking away all of my energy and the psyche of doing anything. Because of this I became isolated from everyone which resulted in strong feelings of loneliness which affected my work, relationships and even my studies. But I thank God that I came out of it.
Fast forward to the wake of COVID-19 in March 2020, life in Kenya, like everywhere else, became very different because of the restrictions on travel and interaction to curb the spread. The closure of the University was really frustrating for many, including myself since you could not meet your students, colleagues and family.
Loneliness if not carefully remedied early can lead to mental health problems, so my advice to anyone experiencing feelings of isolation or loneliness would be to try your level best to engage somewhere or in something that you love and which can positively impact you or others
At this point life became really lonely and I knew that I needed to do something to help overcome these feelings as the restrictions were not going away anytime soon. So, I engaged myself in personal growth development and leadership courses which really helped. This has really occupied my weekends and has become a place to always look forward to. I also used this time to take the opportunity to write articles in my local newspaper on tourism management, which helped to give me something to focus on and try new things.
I have also found the Emerald Engage platform to have a really positive impact during this time as it was here that I have gained new knowledge, shared my opinion and even have had an opportunity to network and engage in conversation with others in the circumstances as me.
Engage has been a home of meeting new people with diverse ideas on different topics. It is a great place to be, and I look forward to seeing that news posts have been published. I think I have taken a lot from the platform as I have participated in it and engaged with the opportunities to connect and have conversations.
Loneliness if not carefully remedied early can lead to mental health problems, so my advice to anyone experiencing feelings of isolation or loneliness would be to try your level best to engage somewhere or in something that you love and which can positively impact you or others. For example, if you love writing, try to scribble something small like a paragraph per day and surely you will be addicted to it.
If possible, engage in a networking group like Emerald Engage. This is where people share great ideas and conversation so make it your home for engaging with people digitally.
Lastly, try to remember that others have been there and they have come out of it; I am certain that you will come out of it too.
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