AGAR: It’s time to take time out to see friends and family

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How are you doing?

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I had lunch with a friend on Saturday.

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We’ve talked about how long it’s been since we met and whether an ongoing issue we’re still grappling with now that we’ve gotten over the pandemic is that we’ve gotten too used to being alone to be home

I’ve found that it takes more effort to get together with people than it used to.

You have to keep in touch, but also push on a date.

I just think people are even more huddled than they were in 2019.

It has become a habit and we need to put an end to it.

Working from home helps.

The Toronto Sun publishes an article titled “Remote work is associated with daytime drug and drinking habits, study finds.”

“A May 2022 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta estimates that the number of working-age Americans (25 to 54 years old) with substance use disorders has increased by 23% to 27 million since the pandemic. This corresponds to about one sixth of the people who were employed at the time of the study. This has led to a 9 to 26 percent drop in labor force participation, which Karen Kopecky, one of the report’s authors, says has continued to this day.”

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It’s easy to grab a quick drink at midday and/or a hit at two.

There is nobody there who could know.

Daniel Angres is Medical Director at the Positive Sobriety Institute in Chicago, a clinic for professionals and physicians. He says: “Substance abuse has many triggers. But hybrid work, Angres says, shortens the downward spiral from five to 10 years to months, in part by removing a key social barrier to substance or other addictive tendencies: spending enough time with healthy people.

“It’s really so much about relationships, and that’s why the emphasis on family and a healthy workplace is so important.” A lot of that has been compromised,” he says.

So it seems to me that the topic my friend and I talked about and the article – seemingly about two different things – are the same for some people.

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I don’t think my friends have drug problems.

I definitely do not abuse drugs or alcohol.

But I worked from home for two years, which made it difficult at times to get together with friends, and I’m the type of person who can easily spend time alone.

Before the pandemic, when my family took vacations while I worked, I could often spend my afternoons and weekends tinkering around the house by myself.

I have hobbies and I’m a world champion time waster. Also, I have to watch out for the Jays.

While it’s good to be able to enjoy your own company, it’s not good to spend too much time alone.

Alone can get lonely.

My wife told me that an elderly woman who lived next door to friends of ours was found dead in her home, apparently six weeks after her death.

So I will continue to make it my mission to get my friends to get together for what I believe is our mutual benefit.

Who haven’t you spoken to or seen in a while?

Call that person.

Insist on coffee.

Not “Yes, we should get together.”

Insist on a date.

Don’t become Eleanor Rigby – don’t become the lonely people.

Our recovery from the pandemic is not over yet.


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