It seems that for almost a year now, we’ve all been living our lives in extremes. Either we’ve been cooped up with our families and roommates, or riding this pandemic out solo and dealing with the loneliness that can bring. Personally, I’ve experienced both sides of the coin. Last March I traveled home to Texas and lived in my childhood bedroom for five months, which was largely a blessing but at the same time felt like an unexpected career setback.
After things picked back up in LA I was thrilled to be working again, however as the excitement wore off I faced a new challenge: loneliness. My roommate was still living with her family and working from home, so for the first time I was getting a taste of what it’s like to live alone. In a normal world, I’d enjoy having my own space to come home to every night. But we are living in pandemic times, and that means that the level of social interaction I’d typically have was wiped away. It’s been several months now, and I’ve learned a few things along the way that have helped me cope with the loneliness of this time. Here are 5 practical tips that can get you out of your head and keep you busy, so those lonely thoughts don’t have a chance to take over.
1. Do Something Artistic
One thing that has kept me sane is giving myself new, creative activities to do. Whether that means redecorating your room, scrapbooking, or something completely outside the box is up to you! I recently bought a painting kit similar to a paint by number, just without the numbers. The painting is outlined on the canvas, and you can fill it in however you’d like. It’s fun, relaxing, and is sure to get your mind off your troubles, helping you to enjoy the time you’re spending by yourself.
2. Set Up Regular Zoom Dates With Your Friends And Family
This one is obvious, but probably the most important. Humans were built to live in tight-knit communities, which means that going without social interaction can really do a number on our caveman brains. It’s essential to our health and happiness to spend time with our loved ones, so it’s no wonder that loneliness has an impact on not just our emotions but our physical state as well. The next time you feel too busy to join that zoom call, remind yourself that talking with friends basically does the same thing for your wellbeing as choosing kale over pizza. Except it’s way more enjoyable.
3. Make A Schedule (And Stick To It!)
This one is harder for me to do, but when I have planned activities for myself I’ve found that I’m way less likely to feel lonely. If you’re keeping your mind and body busy, you simply don’t have the time to get bogged down in feelings. And busy doesn’t mean you’re constantly doing work— you should schedule fun activities for yourself as well. You could be busy strolling the park or grabbing ice cream. Just make a schedule or a list, and do it!
4. Learn Something New
I love learning new things, especially in fields that are totally foreign to me. There are so many free courses, podcasts, YouTube channels, and websites covering anything you could hope to learn. I’m a big fan of listening to a podcast with an interesting guest while I’m doing things around my apartment. Just hearing other people talk about things that they are passionate about can be a great way to get out of your own head, and there’s no better way to make your own personal world feel a bit bigger than by learning something new.
5. Get Out For A Walk
When in doubt…get out! Safely, of course. Put your headphones on and go to a park, a beach, or take a 10 minute walk around your neighborhood. Walking is great for your physical and mental health, and sometimes the simple act of changing your scenery can seriously change your mood. Hey, if it’s good enough for Einstein, it’s good enough for you.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling lonely, especially in the times we are currently living through. It sounds silly, but knowing you are not alone in your loneliness can also help. That is one thing that has given me a tiny bit of solace whenever I’ve started to feel sorry for myself. Much of the world is going through the exact same situation. So next time you catch yourself in a downward spiral, consider trying one of these tips!