Social distancing is tough on all of us, but people who live alone may be struggling even more right now.
Experiencing loneliness and jealousy toward people who have a partner, friends or family to lock down with during quarantine is a natural response and at times, you may feel “invisible.”
We are all by nature, a little bit of an introvert and a bit of a hermit, I like my own corner, so the overall lifestyle shift wasn’t that bad in the beginning but now 10 weeks later and I’m unable to get in those small doses of in-person interactions and going out with friends and family, or getting to enjoy the warmth of a big hug as I greet my members, I’m realising how very important human touch and in-person interaction were for me to feel connected and like I belonged to a ‘tribe’ of some sort.
To cope, I’ve been taking an evening stroll by our lakeshore for a dose of sunshine and exercise. These things help, but it’s still been tough. If you know someone who’s living alone, remember to check in on them. Make that call, send that card!
Those on their own might be envious that they aren’t having to deal with a lack of personal space and quiet time, but many are equally as jealous that you have someone to hug or a shoulder to cry on during this trying time. We need to be there to support each other. So, taking a moment to send a little love someone’s way can make all the difference.
Being alone can understandably affect your mental health
Being physically isolated from our loved ones for an extended period of time is something most of us have never experienced before. Though uncomfortable, the distress you may be feeling is a normal response to the situation. It does not mean that there’s anything “wrong” with you.
Just like hunger signals us to eat and thirst signals us to drink water, loneliness is a natural drive that motivates us to reconnect.
When you are Feeling Lonely
Know that this is a hard time right now and that you are not alone
First, label what you’re feeling
Like, “I feel scared and alone right now” or “I’m feeling disconnected from my friends and family.” Putting words to these difficult emotions can ease your feelings of loneliness.
Know that this is a hard time right now and that you are not alone. Many others are feeling the way that you are. A sense of common humanity can help make negative feelings more bearable as well.
Remember why you’re staying home right now
The social distancing measures that are causing you so much pain aren’t for nothing. By following protocols, you’re doing your part to help slow the spread of the disease in our community.
Shift your mindset: Instead of interpreting the situation as being cut off from others, focus on doing this to protect those you love.
Create a routine and try to stick to it
You’ll be better equipped to manage your emotions if you do.
Keeping a schedule helps us have structure and some predictability during times of uncertainty. Waking and going to bed is important.
Move your body
The feeling of being captive makes us feel like there are limited options, so we choose many times to do nothing.
Talk a walk within your 5km, blast music and dance in your living room, livestream a yoga class or clean out the shed. Anything that gets you moving should boost your mood.
Do something creative
Research has shown that being creative can help alleviate feelings of loneliness.
Write in a diary, paint, take some pictures, play guitar or come up with a new recipe.
Schedule regular video or phone check-ins with loved ones
Think of social distancing as more of a physical distancing. You can’t get together in person, but you can still socialize virtually via FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Houseparty or even in a good, old-fashioned phone call.
Make a list of people to reach out to, both in your inner and outer circle, even if you haven’t talked to them in months or years, connect properly with those Facebook “friends”.
Set small goals
Have you been meaning to read that book on your bookshelf, start meditating in the mornings or organize those boxes of old family photos?
Come up with a few specific goals you want to accomplish that feel meaningful to you right now. There is nothing better than ticking off those tasks on a list, you know how satisfying this is!
Eat nourishing foods and drink plenty of water
If you’ve spent the quarantine stress-eating processed junk foods and drinking wine, you’re not the only one. These things can be comforting in the moment and act as a way to temporarily dull the ache of loneliness.
Eating more nutrient-rich foods and limiting your alcohol intake will help you feel better both mentally and physically, while also improving your immune function.