Developing Connections

Living Alone in the Time of COVID-19

Living alone, staying at home or working from home to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus does not have to result in loneliness. With some planning, physical isolation can offer different ways to connect with other people and find out new things about yourself.

Recognize that you’re anxious or scared. It’s okay to be frightened about what’s happening around us and have questions about what’s to come. But try not to wallow in your sorrows. Instead, take care of your body by eating healthy, well-balance meals; exercise regularly; and avoid alcohol. These simple things can make a big difference in boosting your mood. If you’re still feeling anxious or depressed, a call to a friend or a healthcare provider may be helpful.

Take breaks from the screen. Hearing about coronavirus all day every day can be upsetting. You must take breaks from listening to the news, scrolling through social media, and reading about the virus. There’s a difference between staying informed and being consumed. For a change of pace, find a good book to read, try scrapbooking, or revisit an old talent (drawing, painting, crocheting, etc.). This may be a good time to start a journal to support your emotional health. Don’t know what to write? A quick online search will lead to prompts, such as “What am I grateful for today?” Visit Bayhealth.org/Your-Spiritual-Care to learn more about self-care.

Connect with family and friends. If you’re feeling alone, chances are you have friends and family that are feeling the same way. Whether their living situation is different from yours, you never know when someone is feeling lonely even when they’re surrounded by others. Take the time to write a note, send a birthday card, FaceTime or Skype with friends, send a care package, or make a phone call to say you care. Spreading joy and connecting with others are good for your health.

Get Vitamin D. Sunshine is good for you. When the weather is nice, get outside and enjoy a walk around your neighborhood, toil in your garden, play fetch with your dog, or ride a bike. Even a few minutes of fresh air and sunlight will help brighten your mood. Plus, it may even help you sleep better.

Practice self-care. It’s important that you stick to your normal routine as much as possible to take care of your mental health. Even if you’re working from home, or are not working at all, you should start your day with a shower, change of clothes, a cup of coffee or tea, making your bed, or whatever gets you motivated and moving for the day. It’s okay to have some downtime throughout the week, but don’t become a couch potato.

Take daily preventive measures. In addition to washing your hands with soap and water regularly, you should disinfect surfaces often – especially high-touch surfaces like door knobs, counters, and your steering wheel.

Exercise your brain by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is shown to have several benefits such as reducing stress and anxiety, improving moods, preventing or treating depression, improving sleep, lowering blood pressure, and more. Learn how to practice mindfulness.

Remember this is temporary. Although some days it feels as though the days of self-isolation will last forever, remind yourself that this too shall pass. Create a wish list of all the things you hope to do once bans are lifted – perhaps it’s going to a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try, setting up nights out with friends, finding a new church, or visiting a family member you haven’t seen in ages. It’s fun to look forward to the future.

For more tips, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.