Psychological Stages of Isolation
Updated: Jun 1
What you might be experiencing during isolation In March 2020, the Timberwolves NBA basketball team had to face isolation after a team member’s mother was put into an induced coma due to Covid-19. That team member was Karl-Anthony Townes. His mother eventually passed due to this horrible virus and we are still in isolation with slow roll-outs across the nation at the time of this blog. The sports psychologist advising the team, prior to Mrs. Townes passing, addressed the four stages they would likely experience while facing isolation.
Who’s experienced isolation before now? Sports psychologists are often called in when a player gets injured. When they can’t participate in practice and go home to heal, they experience isolation. We are all being forced off the playing field ourselves when we are asked to self-isolate due to Covid-19. The cause is a noble one: isolate to prevent the spread of this unknown virus until we have more testing to manage who has it or not, protect the vulnerable who are susceptible to die from this invisible enemy, and provide self-care for ourselves while we experience our families in close proximity to one another. While noble, it’s not easy. If you are struggling with all that is being experienced during isolation, please check to see if any of these stages might be ones you are experiencing too. It has been found that when you can name what you are feeling, help to alleviate negative feelings is often found faster.
The four psychological stages during isolation:
You can experience all of these in one day or in varying order. There is no one stage to experience before the other. There is no judgement on which stage you are in – just knowing where you are starts the nurturing you need. These are the typical four psychological stages experience during isolation. But wait… there’s more! Covid-19 2020 is not typical, and it has thrown a wrench into the previous four stages. Current research in Psychology Today offers a different array of feelings.
Personal experiences now Currently, my household has experienced the first three in this chart, some aspects of the fourth due to having to grieve over canceled weddings, trips, and time with loved ones we miss, and the last one- adaptation. We have been fortunate that Anger has been kept at bay as we find data and facts to support our isolation choices and feel that our choices have been honored by clients and employers. We may still experience anger as we unfold from isolation.
What’s the point of offering both views? The point in offering both the four psychological stages from a sport psychologist AND the Covid-19 stages offered from Psychology Today, is to help you identify where you are in all of this. We have been kicked off the playing field in many ways. You need to identify your feelings and NOT judge yourself for experiencing these. You are a human who has feelings, and the stages offered today are currently universal. Isolating is meant to keep us physically safe – it does not mean we have to be socially isolated in the way we reach out to one another over any means available. Identify, reach out, communicate, and nurture yourself!