No one enjoys being isolated, but it happens. If being alone is starting to take a toll on your happiness, read this for some helpful tips.
When you’re feeling lonely, it can be hard to remember all the good things about your life. This is especially true during periods of voluntary isolation.
Even when you’re distancing yourself from others for a good cause, it can be tough to get through those bouts of sadness. It takes great strength to look for the good in the situation and to count your blessings.
But, you must do those two things to move past loneliness when long periods of isolation stretch in front of you. You’ve got to look for ways to focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.
1. Set and Stick to a Schedule
One of the most tempting things to do when you’re feeling lonely is to curl up and ignore the world. You might binge-watch your favorite show and ignore your health. Or you might stay in bed and sleep as much as you can.
These are common methods of ignoring your feelings, but they are not healthy. The best thing you can actually do, even though it’s possibly the hardest, is to get up and get moving.
Doing this is easier if you set a schedule and stick to it. Then you’ll have a list of things you’re supposed to be doing, an order in which to do them, and a purpose to your day.
Create a morning routine that you look forward to, and that gets you up and going. Include a hobby you enjoy, such as art or music.
Add exercise into your morning schedule, whether you like to work out or not. Staying active is healthy for your body, but it also releases feel-good hormones called endorphins that chase away the blues for a while.
Put your schedule in writing and hang it someplace obvious. If it helps you to use a time-blocking method, go for it. Otherwise, do everything in the order on your list and don’t stop until it’s done.
2. Phone a Friend
Self-isolation may not always mean you have to avoid all communication. As the feelings of loneliness intensify, though, it’s natural to retreat into your shell and do this.
Instead of turning away from your friends, purposefully seek them out. Think about your support system. Who always makes you feel better? Which of your friends and family members are good for a few minutes of small talk?
Keep in touch through the phone or social media, but don’t go for long periods of time without talking to people. You have to recharge your energy, and connecting with people who care about you often does the trick.
3. Accept Your Emotions
Many of us have grown up in a society where it’s not okay to be open about emotions like loneliness. That type of thinking can cause you to overlook the warning signs of depression. If you refuse to acknowledge your feelings, they’ll only worsen over time.
Loneliness doesn’t show up overnight. It creeps in over longer periods. And even if you shrug off the signs, your mind and body know that something isn’t right.
Instead of trying to convince yourself that everything is fine, get in tune with your feelings. Now that you’re isolated, you have time to get to know yourself without the constant bombardment of other people’s demands. This is a great opportunity to learn about your own thoughts and feelings.
Once you know how you typically feel, it’ll be easier to recognize when something is “off.” Then, you can take steps to improve your mood before it becomes a problem.
You have the right to feel your emotions. Acknowledge them as valid, and then focus on the solution.
4. Practice Self-Care
How many times have you wished for more hours in the day to do things for yourself? Instead of looking at this self-isolation period as a negative thing, try to see it as the answer to your wishes.
Self-care is an essential component of a balanced life, but it’s usually the first thing we put off when we’re busy. Think about all the things you used to consider luxuries you didn’t have time for. Try to incorporate at least one of those into your day.
Need some self-care ideas? Here are some cures for the blues that you can do in your apartment for free or cheap:
● Read for enjoyment instead of necessity.
● Watch your favorite TV shows, but in limited settings (avoid binging).
● Download an app and learn how to meditate.
● Sign up for a yoga podcast
● Paint your nails and your toes.
● Dance to your favorite music.
Self-isolation is the perfect time to indulge in guilt-free self-care. It’s a luxury you might not get much of when you return to the real world, so enjoy it!
5. Find Fun Methods of Distraction
If self-isolation extends in front of you longer than you care to admit, you need to find ways to make the minutes go by without thinking about them. The best way to do this is to do something fun that distracts you from your loneliness.
Use this time to pick up a new hobby or work on an old one you haven’t had time for in a while.
It doesn’t have to involve stuff you have around your house, but it can. Even if you can’t leave the house, you can have things delivered that catch your eye.
Online shopping is a convenient method of distracting yourself and finding things to keep you busy. For instance, think about buying yourself a nice, heavy-duty notebook so you can start journaling. It’ll give you plenty to do with your time!
One of the hardest feelings to fight during self-isolation is loneliness because, by definition, you’re doing it by yourself. But you can get the job done, and it’s possible if you use these strategies to help!
Jenny Bullock graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University and currently works with Broadstone Briar Forest to make life better for their residents every day.