Living with Loneliness During the Pandemic
Nyamat Chadha

Nyamat Chadha

May 06Mental health

Living with Loneliness During the Pandemic

This article was compiled by Alipta Jena. 

This pandemic has been tough for us and humanity, as a whole. Every day there is news, and most of it grim.

We hear of loved ones getting infected and diagnosed, which can make us question the certainty of the future.

Or we have lost someone close to us, and are wondering how to move on. The toughest part is having to deal with these feelings of loss and bereavement in isolation.

Some large scale effects of the pandemic

  • The proportion of people reaching out to mental health professionals has increased
  • Anxiety about contracting the virus or losing loved ones
  • Grief as the virus has hit a lot closer to home, with family members getting affected.
  • Mental stress and fear at the sudden enforced isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Fears of being socially awkward after an elongated period of not mingling with people.
  • In extreme cases, agoraphobia, fear of crowds, and panic attacks.

Measures to deal with isolation and anxiety during the pandemic

While social distancing is necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it can make us feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. Do try out these tips to cope with stress in a healthy way.

  • Stay active: We sometimes forget that our physical and mental health are delicately intertwined.
  • Spending weeks of isolation not getting any exercise can have a detrimental effect on your ability to cope mentally.
  • Practice Tai Chi, yoga, or at-home low impact workouts by following Youtube videos or go for a walk around the neighbourhood, if possible. The idea is just to get some movement in.

Reach out and stay in touch

On days when you’re feeling lonely, reach out to someone via a phone call.

Use video chat services like Facetime or Zoom, or record voice notes and exchange voice messages with loved ones.

  • Stay in touch by texting or using an instant messenger

Care for yourself

Now more than ever, practising self-care is essential when it comes to taking care of our emotional health and well-being. Here are some of the best ways to manage stress, sleep, physical activity, eating well, and more.

  • Give yourself a foot massage or use a foot spa
  • Take a bath
  • Spend time with your pets
  • Cook healthy comfort food
  • Watch your favourite TV shows or read favourite books
  • Have a cup of herbal tea (chamomile will help you relax)
  • Light scented candles (lavender will help reduce stress)
  • Practice sleep hygiene to make sure you are getting enough rest

Create Something

  • Keep a journal
  • Take up hand lettering or calligraphy
  • Write poetry
  • Write short stories or start the novel you've always wanted to write
  • Start needlework, knitting, or crochet project
  • Compile a photo album that you can share later with others
  • Work on a colouring book
  • Take up a new hobby like jewellery making
  • Origami

Home Projects

  • Choose a space in your home and start an organizing project
  • Choose a room in your home and redecorate by moving things around or moving things from other rooms
  • Take on little projects or finding other forms of distraction can help to keep your mood level.

Distract Yourself

Another way to boost your mental health is to find a healthy, intentional distraction. This might come in the form of reading, watching shows, listening to music, or finding other activities that interest you.

  • Go back and re-read some of your favourite childhood books
  • Join an online book club like the ones at Goodreads
  • Give yourself a reading challenge by choosing a list of books you've always wanted to read
  • Listen to audiobooks through services like Audible or Scribd
  • Watch TED talks on Youtube about topics that interest you
  • Watch a series of movies on a theme (comedy movies can help to ease your stress)
  • Watch a television series on Netflix
  • Watch documentaries
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Go back and listen to your favourite songs from when you were a teenager
  • Create a playlist of calming songs and listen to those
  • Play an instrument such as the piano or guitar
  • Take a virtual tour: Many museums offer digital access to their collections including the Louvre and Guggenheim
  • Play games that engage your mind such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles, solitaire, or online chess.

Plan for the Future

One way to feel slightly more in control is to make plans for the future or do things that will help you focus on the future. Below are some ideas:

  • Make a list of all the things you want to do
  • Order online and plant some spring bulbs
  • Plan a fun event for when you are out of isolation
  • Make a bucket list of things to do in your lifetime
  • Make a goals list for some areas of your life

Practice Self Compassion

If you are struggling, sometimes offering help to others who are feeling lonely can make you feel less lonely yourself.

Make a phone call, send a text, send a letter, or comment on someone's social media posts. Be supportive and offer words of encouragement.

When to reach out for help

If your mental health has deteriorated in isolation and you’re finding it tough to pull yourself out of feelings of anxiety, depression, or fear, it is important to reach out for help.

Consider calling a crisis line or an online therapy service to find out about options.

While it's natural to feel afraid and lonely at a time like this, worsening mental health could indicate the need for outside intervention.

Tiny Tips for those living alone

  • Pause. Breathe. Reflect.
  • Connect with others
  • Keep to a healthy routine
  • Be kind to yourself and others
  • Reach out for help if you need it

Grief looks different for everyone, and everybody copes with it in different ways. As isolating as the experience can be, it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone and seek support.

However the grieving process looks for you, there are people around who have been through tough times too, now more than ever.

Disclaimer - This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare practitioners before undertaking any changes in your diet or adding supplements.

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