Self-isolation measures during the COVID-19 pandemic have hit everyone differently. Some are attempting to get work done with kids running around the house. Others have found themselves in new caretaker roles after taking in older relatives. Some couples have grown closer, while others have found new meaning in the old saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
Living alone, though — especially as a single person — brings a whole new dimension to “self-isolation.” Luckily, there are ways to beat the self-isolation blues this winter without self-care feeling like a chore. Here are a few to keep in mind if you’re feeling lonely or bored on your own.
1. Look for ways to socialize safely
Few of us want more Zoom or Facetime in our lives. If you live in a region that gets lots of snow, getting a few friends together for a sledding, tobogganing or snowshoeing day may be a way to get outside, get some exercise and have fun with friends at a distance.
No snow — or icy temps — to speak of? A bike ride with a few pals or a similar activity that is distanced by design can be a fun option.
What if you’re not the outdoorsy type? Then just picking up the phone for a good old-fashioned call, instead of texting or videoconferencing, can be a nice break on the eyes and help foster closer connections.
2. Join or start an online TV/book club
You could read a book or stream your new favourite show alone — or you could do it with a few friends or relatives.
Virtual book and streaming clubs are inexpensive ways to break out of your usual genres. They also encourage you to pay attention to — and finish— what you’re reading or watching. Plus, they give you appointments to get together with people (even if online) to dish on what you loved and hated about the book or show.
If you can’t find a group to join, they’re also easy to start yourself. All you need is a couple of people to join you, and you’ve got yourself a club.
3. Go on virtual dates while social distancing
Some singles living alone haven’t hugged anyone in a year. Online dating and an early online courtship, though, can be a fun way to create initial intimacy and get to know a person.
Due to the pandemic, more people may even be doing video dates early on in their relationship — rather than risking meeting in person. It’s a way to get to know each other first – without worrying about social distancing.
4. Make an effort to reach out to others
Extroverts usually don’t need to be told to socialize. They know it’s good for them and their mental health. Introverts, however, may find it very difficult to reach out to their friends and family, even if they need the connection.
If you know people in this situation, you may need to take some initiative in helping them through another winter of self-isolation. Rather than telling the introverts in your life to “call if they need anything,” you may need to be more proactive in reaching out, especially if you know they’re struggling with being alone.
Call your more introverted friends and acquaintances. Initiate virtual or in-person distanced hangouts, send them jokes and funny memes, or bring them some fresh cookies. Not only will they appreciate your efforts, but you may also find doing so uplifts you as well.
Living alone always has its ups and downs, and those are magnified because of the pandemic. Still, there can be some solace and communal empathy in the fact that so many are facing their own self-isolation stresses and challenges. We’re all doing what we can, together and apart.