The COVID-19 crisis an incredibly difficult time for everyone, but those who live alone face some unique challenges. Previously, home may have been a place to recover from the day’s stressors and recharge for the next day. But what happens when you are asked to remain at home unless performing essential activities? Suddenly, home may no longer feel like a place of respite and peace. It is now your home, your office, your gym, and your therapist’s office. What do you do when the only social connection happening in your home comes from a computer or phone screen?
One of the main challenges of living alone during this time is the absence of physical touch and in-person social connection. You understand why and how physical distancing promotes safety; however, you also recognize the emotional toll it may take on your well-being. The methods previously used to connect with friends and family are no longer available and this can trigger a wide range of emotions including anger, sadness, and anxiety. Here are some ideas for how to create connection:
Plan regular (weekly/biweekly) phone calls with friends
Share a virtual meal or happy hour with friends
Cuddle with your pets
Continue to attend religious services on-line
Watch a movie with a friend, virtually
Schedule a regular on-line exercise class
Schedule your time in a way that helps you cope.
Prior to the COVID crisis, there were natural rhythms in our day; transitions were naturally built in. These may have included structure related to our workday, our commute, and our social outlets. Now our home is our workplace and our workout place as well. In a gentle manner consider how you can structure your day to re-introduce transitions back into your life.
Get up and get dressed for work.
- Follow your typical routine for the morning.
- Be sure to eat breakfast and nourish your body.
Introduce a commute to work.
- Leave your house and walk around the block a few times.
- As you re-enter your house, consider your work day to have started.
End meetings intentionally.
- Move away from screens briefly.
- Stretch or drink some water.
- Consider an online class where you are able to interact with other participants.
- Listen to what your body needs: heart pumping or gentle movement.
Schedule your day thoughtfully.
- Break up your time into manageable pieces.
- Set realistic and achievable goals so that you feel accomplished.
Remember that it is most important to try to have compassion for yourself during this time. It is okay to have an unproductive day. It is okay to be tired. It is okay to cry. During these seemingly impossible days, it is most important to lean on your support networks, use some coping strategies, and know that tomorrow is a new day.