Feeling lonely is usually temporary, but during the current events, self-isolating has made figuring out how to fight loneliness a lot more difficult.
The entire world is going through a pandemic right now. So, wherever you are reading this, you can relate. Here’s what you need to know for how to fight loneliness during this extraordinary time. We all deal with loneliness, even in the most normal times. Right now, things aren’t normal.
Due to the Coronavirus *COVID-19* most of the world in on some sort of lockdown. We stay home and only leave the house for essential errands like grocery shopping or doctor appointments.
This means no parties, no dinners with friends, no playdates for kids, or visiting family. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, this lack of socializing is lonely. Even quarantining with your family or roommates cause tensions to run high. The lack of regular human interaction can make us feel withdrawn.
The thing is, in normal circumstances, loneliness can be cured by hanging out with friends and family. Just a hug can often perk you up immensely.
But for the sake of our own health and the health and well-being of those around us and all the essential workers of the world we need to stay at home. So, how do you fight loneliness while self-isolating?
Fighting loneliness alone seems pretty impossible. How do you not feel lonely when you are by yourself? Whether you’re lonely because you’re single or alone in your apartment, there are ways to fight loneliness, even without the company of others.
#1 Grieve your plans. It can feel shallow to grieve the loss of your vacation or even a dinner right now when so many people are struggling, but there is no comparison. You are allowed to be sad.
Grieve the loss of the things you can’t do. Whether that is going to the gym, going to a wedding, or visiting a family member. You are allowed to be upset about missing out on things. If you let yourself be sad, you can move forward. [Read: How to emotionally detach when you have no other choice]
#2 Foster a pet. With everyone on edge right now, the essential workers are spreading themselves thin. This means volunteers at animal shelters across the globe cannot come to work. Employees are the only ones taking care of all these animals, and it just isn’t enough.
Without making a lifelong commitment, foster a dog or cat during quarantine. Not only are you doing something good for someone else, but the impact an animal has on your mood and perspective is amazing. I don’t know what I’d do in quarantine without my cats.
#3 Get done everything you’ve been putting off. I know this doesn’t seem like it will cure loneliness, but it will definitely perk you up and help you feel more productive and like you’re not wasting your days. By checking things off your to-do list, you will feel more positive and capable of accomplishing things alone.
I painted the trim of my basement that I’ve been meaning to do for so long, and it felt great. Whether you’ve been putting off paperwork, vacuuming, rearranging a room, or even organizing your cupboards, do it now while you have the time. [Read: How to get your life together with healthy rituals]
#4 Get some fresh air. Yes, stay home right now, but you are allowed outside as long as you keep your distance from others. This means you can sit outside in your yard. Go for a walk. In fact, take your foster dog for a walk.
Fresh air and exercise release endorphins into our bodies and makes you happier. And, even though you can’t physically be near others, just seeing other people can boost your spirits. I’ve gone for a walk around my neighborhood every day this week, and just seeing someone across the street or on their porch reminds me that I’m not alone in this.
#5 Stay off social media. I know that social media keeps us connected to others during times like these, but it can also reignite anxiety and fear. It is nearly impossible to log onto any social channels right now without being reminded of the virus and its impact.
But, to fight loneliness, you need hope and inspiration. Sure, you can limit your scrolling to positive pages, but it is hard to avoid all the bad news. Take a break from social media and keep in touch with people in your life via phone, texting, and video chat.
#6 Enjoy the good things. I know it can be hard to see the silver lining in all this, but looking at the bright side and celebrating little victories is exactly what can boost your mood and remind you that things will be better. Make a list of things you’re happy about.
It can be something as small as not having to commute to work, discovering a new recipe, or finally having time to binge-watch that show everyone has been recommending.
If you are quarantining with your family, roommates, or partner, it can still feel lonely. Sure, there is someone else to share space, but it isn’t the type of socializing you’re used to.
When you are at home on a normal day with your family or roommates, you probably hang out in your room watching Netflix. You might chat in the kitchen for a bit, but you aren’t really interacting with anyone in your home.
Fight the loneliness that comes with quarantining simply by finding ways to really bond with those you are with.
#1 Have family dinners. Whether you’re a family or not, sharing a meal is the main way humans have bonded for centuries. Cook together. Give each person a step or dish to make.
Then set the table, sit down, and eat… together. Talk about the shows you’re watching, what you want to cook next, and the first thing you’ll do once it is safe to go out and about.
#2 Play board games. When was the last time you had a proper game night? For me, it was probably 10+ years ago. So, if you still have board games hanging around in your attic dig them out and dust them off. Monopoly, UNO, Life, Scrabble, or newer things like Cards Against Humanity will all ensure a good time.
If you don’t have board games, download the app Heads Up or play Pictionary or Charades. Even planning out a scavenger hunt or playing pranks on each other will pass the time and keep you bonded.
#3 Help each other with tasks. Remember how I told you earlier that being productive will help with your mood? Well, helping each other do these things will help even more. Working together to accomplish something is the definition of not being alone.
You can volunteer your roommate to help you hang the new curtains you’ve been storing in your closet for weeks. Go outside and help each other find the perfect lighting for your next online dating profile.
#4 Shop each other’s rooms. It is spring, and we are already cleaning *hopefully*. But it doesn’t mean you can’t take it a step further. Instead of simply sanitizing, clean out your entire room. Go through boxes, drawers, and closets. Get rid of the stuff you no longer want.
Then when you’re done, look through each other’s piles. One person’s trash is another’s treasure. You may find your new favorite shirt or a cool lamp. [Read: Here is how to make your life easier]
#5 Challenge each other. There is nothing like some friendly competition to remind you that you are not alone in all of this. Board games are a bit more relaxed, but truly challenging each other and offering prizes will keep you motivated.
Who can jog the furthest or vacuum their room fastest. Whoever wins chooses the movie or the meal for the night.