The first months of 2020 have been full of surprises, to say the least. It seems like we all got caught in a large-scale game of “Statues,” where none of us can move until the Curator (COVID-19, in this case) turns around. People are experiencing physical distancing in different ways: somebody launches an online business, somebody spends days in front of the TV, and another person takes up baking. Whether you are stuck with your family or going through this period of isolation at home by yourself, it is reasonable and acceptable to feel lonely sometimes.
The four suggestions below can help you feel less alone by encouraging connections while still obeying the physical distancing rule.
Reach out to others, virtually
Parties, picnics, and BBQs in the sunshine might seem a distant dream this spring. Thankfully, technology is on your side this time.
Scheduling time to speak to your family and friends over Skype or Zoom can offer you something to look forward to. It’s great way to fight loneliness.
To quote my hubby, “I need guy time!” So he had a Skype call with several friends, and I could tell he felt much more relaxed after making small talk and discussing their experiences lately.
Alternatively, if you know that somebody has been struggling in the past and might need mental health support or outpatient rehab assistance, find out how they are doing and what you can do for them. This is the ultimate win-win situation, as you both can get some company!
Engage in activities
After you have tried out tens of recipes, watched everything on Netflix, and done a bunch of at-home workouts, you might face boredom. Did you know that boredom can lead to conditions that include:
- Physical pain
- Weight gain
Yup, being bored can be bad for your mental and physical health. Even worse, it’s easy to become bored when you are in your house by yourself all day long.
Therefore, trying to fight boredom is a great way to look after your health during these months. Take a walk in nature, start a new hobby, such as knitting or drawing, learn a new skill, or reorganize your home.
Those are only some examples! Really, there’s a heck of a lot more. If you can, don’t underestimate the importance of opening the curtains wide to take in all that sunshine!
Make a fictional character your new (temporary) friend
With such busy lives we all have, the time to immerse yourself in a new book always seems too limited. I haven’t had time to re-open a book I started on my honeymoon yet and it’s often at the back of my mind to finish it.
If you are looking to alleviate feelings of loneliness, pick up a new book (or, if you’re like me, then finish it!). And, maybe just this time, leave alone demanding, fact-based tomes and allow a not-so-real story to capture you.
Studies from 2011 show how empathizing with fictional characters can offer psychological benefits and help you create “social surrogates” in moments of solitude. Wow.
Loneliness can have several adverse effects on your health, including:
- Sleep troubles
- Weakened immune system
And you need a strong immune system during these crazy times! However, daily meditation sessions can help you limit the damage of these conditions on your body and mind.
If you were already struggling with stress before COVID-19, now you might feel like a walking-and-talking emotional rollercoaster. It might be time to introduce meditative practice into your life.
On loneliness and physical distancing
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula to feel less lonely, all these tips are available to you at no cost and no effort. Try a few different ones over the next few days, find out what works best for you, and enjoy the benefits!
How are you overcoming feelings of loneliness now that we’re physical distancing?