Coping with Loneliness During the Lockdown
Loneliness in the Lockdown
The COVID-19 lockdown has severely restricted everyone’s social lives, particularly those unlucky enough to be living in quarantine or living alone. A vast amount of the population is living in such conditions right now and never before has there been such a surge in mental illness. Loneliness seems to be a key player in many cases and how people deal with it can really determine their mental state.
Social distancing measures can make even outside interactions strange, basic greetings such as a hug, a kiss or even just a handshake apply a physical connection which might be the only one that person receives that day. We are losing our most basic forms of contact and this has always been such an important part of human social interaction.
The BBC have recently reported that loneliness can be twice as deadly as obesity. Loneliness can have a significant impact on a person’s well-being and it can contribute to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression says Mind, a leading organisation that offers mental health support.
It’s normal to feel stress when faced with staying indoors and interacting less with people, especially when that is added to the underlying stress of worrying whether you will catch the virus. These factors could increase your chances of developing a mental health issue.
What is the best way to get through this period of isolation then? There are many strategies that you can employ to ensure your well-being and good mental health. Most of these involve either finding ways to distract yourself (keep busy) or finding ways to connect with others (despite the circumstances).
If you are unable to go places or interact socially with many people at this time, you might be wondering what you can do. Below are some tips on how to manage your feelings of loneliness during these times.
Five Tips to Cope with Loneliness
We often forget that our physical and mental health are directly intertwined, and both are just as important. Not only will months of isolation and no exercise be detrimental to your body but it will have a detrimental effect on your ability to cope mentally. Why not try a few of the ideas below:
- Practice yoga or Tai Chi, or practice low impact exercises at home by following online videos.
- Go for a run or a walk, which is an excellent way to produce serotonin.
- Set a challenge – time yourself on a walk or run and try to beat yourself. You could also increase your workout limits.
Creativity can be truly therapeutic, artists and musicians can be swept away in their work. Getting creative can be a fantastic way to help your mind become more present and to stop dwelling on problems.
Why not start keeping a journal? You could keep it simple, just start jotting down any thoughts and feelings or even what you plan to do that day. You could go one step further and start writing stories.
Learn how to play an instrument. Whether it be that you decide to dust down that old guitar in the cupboard or get something new delivered to your home.
Try learning how to paint, there is a ‘how to’ video on pretty much everything these days. Painting and drawing can create hours of fun where you will be focused and centred, concentrating on the present moment.
Connecting with your inner self right now can be more important that ever. Meditate, visualise and manifest things that you have always wanted to be part of your life. Meditation is proven to reduce stress and improve physical health.
- Find a quiet spot, lay down and relax.
- Begin to breath deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth creating a circular breathing pattern.
- Visualise yourself happy and healthy, living your dream life. Feel the feelings and emotions and imagine that you are already living like this to manifest your dreams into reality.
Find sources of comfort
Even when you are feeling lonely, treating yourself and finding sources of comfort can really help with mental health. Relaxation will help alleviate any stress, run a hot bath, light some scented candles and add some essential oils (such as lavender) and have some ‘me’ time.
Try to lift your spirits by watching your favourite comedy show on TV or online. Laughter can help relieve physical tension and stress and has been proven to raise your immunity.
Focus on your pet. Animals aren’t just good for company, it has been proven that having a pet around can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Plan for the future
Thinking about the future will help reassure you that the lockdown will not last forever. There will be a time when we can go back to our normal routines, and practice our favourite hobbies etc. This also helps you focus your attention away from feelings of loneliness and concentrate on positive ones such as seeing old friends again or going to the cinema.
You can start by writing a list. Include all of the things that you want to do when the lockdown has been lifted. Write another list, include all of your life goals you want to achieve before you die, this could be places you wish to visit or a dream job that you can work towards.
Why not try listening to this Solfeggio frequency meditation. The 528 Hz frequency is said to help promote happiness, stimulate love and repair DNA.