With the current threat from a new and dangerous virus, the need for self-isolation is imperative for the health of the nation and the world. It can seem daunting and even a bit scary to think that you’ll be in your home by yourself and unable to interact with friends, family or coworkers.
Humans are social creatures, which means that we thrive when we can be in close contact with others. However, to slow the spread, it’s best if you follow the rules and stay inside your home. When the feelings of loneliness arise, the right course of action is to recognize your emotions. Trying to fight them will only make them worse. Once you recognize that you are lonely, then you can overcome the sensation. Below are some ways to help you cope with loneliness while in self-isolation.
1. Remind Yourself that it Won’t Last Forever
If there’s anything you can count on in this world, it’s that it will constantly change. Nothing lasts forever, including the feelings of loneliness and isolation. Things might seem extremely bad right now, but it too will reach a peak and life will once again return to normal.
Spending a few weeks in your home is a small price to pay to potentially save countless lives and ensure that the health system in the U.S. doesn’t collapse. Even though you may feel isolated and lonely, keep in mind that you still have plenty of ways to connect with others, but soon you’ll be back at work, going to birthday parties and spending quality time with friends and family.
Not only should you be reminding yourself that this won’t last forever, but you should also tell yourself that you aren’t the only one who feels this way. On average, 60% of Americans feel lonely – and this was before they were asked to self-isolate. Thus, when you start to feel isolated and abandoned, imagine that you are connecting with all of the other people who are feeling the same way you do. You’ll soon find that you don’t feel as bad.
2. Stay Connected Through Social Media
Even though you are cooped up inside your home, that doesn’t mean you are cut off completely from the rest of the world. You still have the ability to get on social media or your phone and call or text people you care about. You even have the option of video chatting with others or playing games online.
Pretty much everyone you know will be stuck inside their homes as well, so you can connect with them through apps or messengers. Consider meeting new people by joining online groups or discussions.
If you are getting onto social media during this self-isolation, it’s recommended that you continue to use it with caution. Before people were asked to stay inside, there were studies that showed a link between social media and depression. Since isolation and loneliness can also be coupled with depression, it’s still a good idea to limit the time you spend on these sites. Finding other ways to connect with loved ones is advised, but there are numerous ways to achieve that goal.
3. Start a Hobby
One of the best ways to reduce the amount of loneliness you feel while stuck inside your home is to keep yourself busy. With more time on your hands, find something that you enjoy doing and do it. If you’ve always wanted to attempt to write a novel, put some words on a page. Maybe you have some puzzles that have been sitting in a closet for years. Pull them out and put them together.
Take up drawing or coloring or making things out of household items. Now is the best time to be creative and let your imagination go wild. You no doubt have plenty of things around your house that you can do, so take the time to look around and find something that you will enjoy.
4. Learn Something New
Not only is now a great time to find a new hobby, but you can also spend your time in isolation learning something new. The internet offers so many possibilities to accomplish this goal, including online classes, videos and webinars, and many of them are incredibly affordable, if not free. You even have the option of picking up books to expand your knowledge and learn some new facts or skills.
Speaking of reading, one of the best ways to hold off feelings of loneliness during self-isolation is to meet new people, see new worlds and go on adventures without having to leave the comfort of your home or risk getting ill – and that is accomplished by reading fiction. There are millions of different stories to choose from, so you are sure to find some that appeal to you. Now is the best time to find books that can transport you out of your misery.
5. Cross Things Off Your To-Do List
You might also consider getting some things crossed off your to-do list. If you have items that you can get done without having to run to the store for supplies, now is the best time to accomplish those goals. Maybe there’s a room in your home that you’ve been meaning to clean out and organize. Tackle that task during your self-isolation.
Everyone has something that needs to be done around their home that they’ve been putting off because they don’t have time. Now that you are forced to stay in your home for extended periods, you’ll have plenty of time to get things done – and you’ll feel a huge sense of accomplishment when you get to cross the tasks off your to-do list.
6. Get Some Fresh Air and Sunshine
You may have been asked to self-isolate, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up inside the entire time. The goal is to reduce contact with others to slow the spread of the virus, and that is accomplished by ensuring that people don’t gather in the same areas, such as at sporting events or for other activities. You still have the opportunity to get outside, and this can be incredibly beneficial.
Even if you are only venturing into your backyard, getting some fresh air and sunshine can have a huge impact on your mood. If you happen to have pets, take them outside to play. Throwing a ball or a stick for your dog is a great way for them to get some exercise and for you to focus on something other than your isolation.
7. Reconnect with Yourself
If you’ve been out of touch with yourself and your wants/needs for a while, then now is a great time to reconnect with you. You have to be your own best friend and take care of yourself before you can take care of others. If you’ve constantly been on the go and rely on others for validation and meaning, then self-isolation is going to feel like torture.
However, it’s also one of the best times to get to know you. Take some time each day to meditate. If you’re unsure how to do this, there are videos and apps online that can help. You should also ensure that you are getting exercise and eating healthy. All of these will have a positive impact on your mental and physical health and ensure that you feel good and are able to be with yourself and your thoughts.
8. Take the Time to Slow Down
If you’re one of those people who is constantly busy and feels stressed by everything that you have to do at work, now is the best time to slow down and relax. You’re not the only one who is being forced to self-isolate, everyone at your office and in your community is being asked to do the exact same thing. While it may feel weird at first and you may be overcome with a sense of guilt because you should be out there doing something, this feeling will eventually pass as well.
You may not have realized how much stress has overtaken your life until you have a moment to reconnect with yourself and slow down. Take some time to do something that helps you unwind, whether that includes taking a bath, listening to music or binge-watching TV shows. You may never get another opportunity to indulge in these things, so grab the moment while you can, enjoy yourself and let things go.
Embrace the Change
Due to recent events and the current threat, it feels like the world has been thrown into chaos. Life as we know it has been upended, and it can be incredibly stressful and scary to think that you’ll have to ride this out alone during self-isolation. Feelings of loneliness can be debilitating and lead to other issues, including depression. However, there are ways to overcome.
The most important thing to remember is that you are strong and resilient. Things may seem bleak now, but they won’t be that way forever. There are so many things you can achieve while in isolation, and it will make you appreciate your family, friends, coworkers and life so much more.