For the majority of people, being alone is hard. We’re naturally sociable animals, and the restrictions placed on many of us in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have taken their toll on our mental health. It’s especially difficult for those required to self-isolate if they live alone. This short guide will help you to cope more successfully with isolation and learn how to get more out of time spent alone.
Be patient with yourself
It’s okay to feel anger or despair in this situation. You’re not under any obligation to be calm. If you feel the need to let it out, then turn your favorite music up loud and shout and scream for a bit, or punch a pillow (don’t punch a wall – it’s easy to break fingers that way). As long as you’re not hurting or scaring yourself or other people, it’s healthy to express your emotions.
Don’t invest energy in feeling worse
It’s not uncommon for people in this situation to get into ongoing cycles of anger or despair by repeatedly telling themselves that this how they ought to feel. Once in that kind of cycle, it’s hard to break out, but you always have a choice. If you accept what you can’t change, you can focus your energy on things that make you feel better instead.
Get help if you need it
If you feel that your emotional responses are getting out of control and you’re struggling to cope, online therapy can be a big help. You could also benefit from using a CBD spray – CBD sprays produce an immediate calming effect and also help to ease muscle tension caused by prolonged stress. The spray isn’t addictive, so it’s a much better choice than alcohol and even some prescribed anti-anxiety medications.
You’ll feel a lot better emotionally if you look after your physical health. Make sure that you get at least half an hour of exercise every day. If you don’t have the opportunity to go outside, then jog on the spot, do aerobics, dance, lift weights, jump rope, or use an exercise bike. Eat as healthily as you can, drink plenty of water, and try to stick to a regular sleep pattern.
Use your imagination
When you’re in a limited physical space, it’s important to escape mentally. Reading books or watching films and TV shows can help. This is a good time to try exploring the sort of genre or subject matter that you wouldn’t usually go for. You can also spend time daydreaming and creating your own fantasy worlds to escape to.
Isolation can provide a great opportunity to engage in creative projects that you wouldn’t normally have time for. Whether it’s writing short stories, playing music, developing a dance routine, building a model or sewing a quilt, there are lots of different ways to explore your creative potential. With lots of helpful instructional videos out there, you could try something completely new.
Being physically alone doesn’t have to mean not talking to anyone. Use the phone, Skype or Zoom to keep in touch with loved ones elsewhere. Attend online conferences, discussions, workshops or parties. Become part of a joint volunteering project. Listen to DJs or other broadcasters on Twitch and join in with the chat. Play online games, use social media and make new friends.
If nobody else sees you day to day, then you may have started slumming it. Don’t do this. Looking after your appearance will make you feel a lot better about yourself. This could be a good opportunity to try out new looks and get comfortable with them before anyone else sees them. It will also give you time to pamper yourself with luxurious at-home spa treatments.
Remember why it matters
When you are feeling down, it’s worth taking some time to reflect on what all this is for. We all hear the stories about ‘superspreaders’, but what we don’t hear is the stories of those making sacrifices to keep others safe. Those stories also matter. Even if you turn out not to be ill, your actions will encourage others to reduce risks. This saves lives. It’s heroic, and you should feel proud of yourself for doing what’s right.
COVID-19 is frightening and frustrating, but we don’t have to let it break us. Learning to cope with isolation can make you stronger so that you go back into the world better able to cope with all sorts of things, and with a deeper appreciation for all the little things that make life precious.