DEAR HARRIETTE: I have noticed that I am isolating myself more and more. I prefer spending hours on social media and watching videos on the internet to reaching out to friends and meeting up in person. I have also stopped seeing my therapist, who was a primary source of my human interaction. I live far from family and I don’t have a girlfriend. How can I stop this loneliness before it takes a huge toll on my social health? -- Couch Potato, Denver
DEAR COUCH POTATO: You already know what you need to do first: Schedule an appointment with your therapist. You have cut off the lifeline that helps you to find balance in your life. Whatever your reason for ending that, figure out how to re-engage. If it’s the cost, ask your therapist to work with you on a fee reduction or to refer you to someone else who may be able to charge less.
Next, think about what you have enjoyed doing in your spare time. Even if it feels like your feet are stuck in quicksand, promise yourself that you will do one thing outside of your home per week that involves other people. That could be taking a walk in the local park, taking a class, going to the movies -- anything. Force yourself to go out. While you are out, look around and notice friendly faces. Choose someone who looks approachable, and strike up a conversation. But first, call your therapist! Oh, yes, you can also schedule weekly calls with family members to keep in close touch with them.