Isolation can be challenging, but just like any other skill, spending time alone gets easier with practice.
After a year living through a brutal pandemic and social distancing, you’d expect most of us to be experts at hanging out alone and not sighing wistfully every time we walk by a bar. But we’re not.
Despite warnings from the CDC, over 4 million Americans traveled this year in order to spend Thanksgiving with their loved ones.
Being alone is not easy, but staying away from others is a necessity when faced with rising COVID-19 cases. Isolation goes against our nature and it’s criticized by modern culture. It makes our lives stressful and difficult, but it’s a skill that can be practiced like any other and that produces tangible results in the middle of a pandemic. Even if the stress of this year heightens all of our emotions, being alone is something we’ve all experienced before.
Here are some tips that can help you make the best of your alone time:
While distractions are very appreciated during the pandemic, sometimes finding a TV series to watch is not enough. An activity that demands less engagement and absorption can help you be alone more efficiently, something like reading, journaling, crocheting, practicing yoga or working out. These activities, while stimulating and distracting, don’t shut off your brain and your thoughts. They instead allow you to sit with your feelings in a way that’s manageable.
Try to find meaning
It could also help you feel better to know that you’re contributing to the world by keeping yourself from others and following safety guidelines. At the end of the day, social distancing and isolation are temporary. Still, it’s natural to feel some sort of distress, but, like any other distressing emotion, your fears can be appeased by sitting with your feelings and trying your best to not block them out. If your problem is too distressing and you don’t feel like you have the necessary tools, consider therapy or explore different options for teletherapy (here are 5 Tips To Make The Most Of Your Online Therapy Sessions).
If you’re planning on spending the holidays alone or limiting your contact with others in order to be more in touch with yourself, do so gradually. When feeling sad and lonely, reach out to someone, whether it’s a roommate or by giving a friend a call. There’s no shame in Zoom or FaceTiming.