It is almost a month for majority of the global population to be practicing social distancing and isolation. The future of our economies and life getting back to the pre-distancing days remains uncertain.
For those who are living with families or with partners, there is opportunity to still have face to face interaction. However, there is a large and significant number of young people who live by themselves, may be outside their home city or home countries and are going through this phase just by themselves.
Loneliness and anxiety can hit hard on young individuals who are now working from home and living alone by themselves. A common worry which is experienced is about their parents or family back home, their own wellbeing, fear of having no one to help if or when they get infected by the virus. These are just some of the fears and source of anxiety for young people living alone.
Well, all these worries are justified and very natural to experience. The loneliness and anxiety can take a toll on the persons present as well as future wellbeing.
Now having known that, there are solutions and ways to cope and overcome the loneliness and anxiety.
Accept and Embrace: Yes, it is challenging, and it does get lonely when one is all by themselves. The more we think, the more daunting the situation appears, hence making us feel helpless. So, as a first step accept the current situation, with the awareness that it will not be the like this forever. Remember the things which are in your control at the moment and let go of things which are beyond your control. As one begins to normalize the situation, one starts to feel more in control of self and relatively calmer.
Identify and Inform: Identify at least 3-4 people, who may be your friends, neighbors or work colleagues, whom you can reach out to in an emergency or who can come to your help when needed. For example: Dropping groceries at your doorstop, calling in to check on you if you are unwell or informing emergency services etc. Once you identify these individuals, inform them (though message or call) that you might be reaching out to them if there is an emergency. Do ask them if they are comfortable with the same. You can also offer your help as well in case they need it. By doing this, you will be able to experience a sense of support as well feel secure.
Connect: While in isolation, use the time to connect with friends and family regularly, may be a bit more than what you usually do. Mutually agree and set a specific time during the day to connect digitally. It is ok if you run out of topics to talk, just having someone to talk about what you did or plan to do during the day is better than zero interaction. Apart from family and friends, you can also connect with community support groups online. These can be a great platform to share experiences, plus you are able to understand that you are not alone experiencing isolation.
Relax and Care: Make the best of this time to focus on your health and eating. Taking care of yourself if you have been ignoring yourself lately, as this time will never (hopefully should never) return. When feeling anxious or uneasy, the first go to rescue needs to be a breathing exercise. Deep breathing exercise will help reduce the anxious feeling, making you feel calmer. Apart from breathing exercises, pick up an activity which you enjoy doing. For example: reading, painting, cooking, yoga, watching a light movie, gardening etc. You must also try to limit your exposure and discussions about coronavirus. Allow yourself only 30 – 40 minutes of information update on the virus during the day.
Add some white noise: If you are working you may some soft music in the background. Even when doing daily chores at home, it can be comforting to have a background sound playing, for example- a podcast, an audiobook, a talk show on TV etc. A white noise helps in reducing the haunting silence when by yourself and helps you focus on things other than your current state or your loneliness.
Skip the pajamas: Work from home comes with its own perks. You can take calls in your night dress or pajamas, no need to dress up. But, being in night clothes or home clothes throughout the day makes one feel a bit lazy and increases the chances of procrastination. So as and when you get up for work at home, change and get ready as you would if you would be stepping out for work. This will make you feel more active, more productive and create a sense of work environment around the house.
Set a routine: When we are home, it is very easy to be laid be laid back or work /eat at odd hours. Setting a routine will give you some structure amid uncertainty. Make and stick to the routine during lockdown as much as possible, as this will give some predictability in an uncertain environment. For example: - taking lunch breaks at a specific time, scheduling time for exercise at home, time for bed etc.
Seek help: If you feel that you are unable to manage your anxiety and negative thoughts, it can be a good idea to speak to a therapist via video or call about your feelings, learn some coping skills or simply to express yourself and gain some perspective.
Remember and reinforce the thought that this situation will not be lasting long. We all are in this together and you are not alone. Embrace this time and find ways to develop yourself in this journey.
DISCLAIMER: If the condition is intense please seek help from a professional immediately. This article is for educational purposes only.
Image Source: Giving Compass