All humans crave social interaction in some form, but time alone can turn from a needed break to feelings of isolation. In practicing safe distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak, many Americans may feel the impact of loneliness. With these tips and daily practice, you can adapt to this lifestyle adjustment and learn how to deal with being alone.
Change Your Mindset
A positive attitude sets the perfect foundation for enjoying time alone. Consciously reframe intrusive negative thoughts to improve your overall mindset. For example, instead of thinking, “I have to stay home,” say to yourself, “I get to relax and be productive at home!”
Practicing daily gratitude, instead of focusing on things you can’t do, will positively shift your mindset. Keep a daily record of things you’re grateful for, from a friend’s phone call to the roof over your head or the discovery of a new song.
No matter the method, socialization is key to fighting isolation. Using everything from video chats to emails, texts and social media, remind yourself that physical distance does not inherently mean social isolation. Staying connected and sharing feelings with friends and family also wards off anxiety and stress.
Provide Service to Others
Isolation may leave you searching for a sense of purpose in your day-to-day life. Seek out ways to support and serve those around you, whether close acquaintances or complete strangers. Offer to deliver groceries for seniors, write letters to those who are homebound or become an online volunteer through the United Nations.
Offering support could be as simple as sending a text to another friend to check in on their general well-being.
Don’t Forget About Yourself
While acts of service help you increase empathy and find purpose, don’t neglect your own personal needs. Time alone is an excellent opportunity to practice self-care! Don’t be afraid to indulge in things that make you happy, comfortable and relaxed. Consider activities like a yoga class, a warm bath with your favorite book or scented candles to ease anxiety.
For some, self-care might include finding a new hobby or activity. Here are a few starter ideas to occupy your time:
- Learn hand lettering or calligraphy
- Complete a paint-by-number or adult coloring project
- Organize or redecorate your home
- Stay active and exercise with at-home workouts
- Prepare a healthy meal
Limit Media Exposure
Keeping up with current events is undoubtedly important. However, research shows that a 24-hour news cycle can contribute to spikes in viewer anxiety. To cope with isolation, spare time is often spent watching the news on TV or diving into social media updates. Set limits for your daily information intake and replace your time with healthy distractions like reading a book or listening to music. No matter the activity, find something that boosts your mood rather than your anxiety.
How to Deal with Being Alone
Being alone can be uncomfortable. Instead of focusing on those feelings, pivot your mentality and use this time to be productive and take care of yourself. If you’re having an especially hard time or feel anxious, talk to a professional counselor. Most therapists offer virtual sessions and can help you learn how to deal with being alone. Overall, remember that being on your own doesn’t mean you’re disconnected. Rather, it’s an opportunity to maintain a connection to self and digital connection to others.