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How To Combat Loneliness When You Are Practicing Social Distancing

by Lily Low. |

With the ongoing worldwide pandemic and countries implementing restrictions on movement, many of us have been in self-quarantine. This means that we don’t get to go about our usual routine, we don’t get to see our friends, we don’t go out other than to get essentials. Basically, we only leave home when it is necessary. Even if we do go out, we practice Social Distancing - maintaining at least a 1-metre distance between yourself and anyone.

The lesser the interactions we have with the outside world, the higher the chances of us feeling lonely and isolated during this time. Hence, here are some of the ways to combat loneliness when you are practicing social distancing:

1. Interact virtually

If you’re staying alone and human interaction is what you need to help you pull through right now, video calls your family and friends! We have been equipped with many more ways to keep in touch now that almost everyone has access to the Internet, With social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, our friends are just a message away.

Image: freepik

Schedule catch-up sessions with them throughout the week and share with each other how you’re coping with social distancing and quarantine. You can also entertain yourselves by playing games together on apps like Plato. Having some sort of virtual human contact is an effective way to get rid of loneliness and get you feeling good and connected in no time.

These past few weeks, I’ve been seeing friends using the application Zoom to host group video calls. You can sign up for Zoom’s Basic Plan for free; a disclaimer though, there is a 40-minute time limit for each video call.

Other than Zoom, we also have Skype, which I used to go on for video calls when I was studying abroad. Alternatively, considering that most of us would own a Gmail account, we might as well make use of it by ‘hanging out’ on Google Meet!

2. Invest time into your existing hobbies or learn something new

During this break, I was able to find more time to invest into my creative passion: writing. I felt better as I had an outlet to relieve my stress, instead of being fully entrenched in my examination stress alone. With some time to take a breather, I was able to sort my thoughts and ideas to write.

Another hobby I had growing up was reading. Since entering university, I have not been able to read as regularly - the last book that I read was about 2 years ago. If you don’t have a specific hobby, or if most of your hobbies involve being outdoors, make the most of your circumstances and pick up something new! Again, this is made easy with Internet access; there are online classes made available on platforms such as Masterclass and Skillshare, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a class that suits you.

3. Declutter your room, and ultimately your life too

As simple as it sounds, having a clean space contributes towards making you feel better. One study about the psychology of the home found that people living in cluttered environments were more likely to feel fatigued and depressed. In contrast, people with restful and restorative homes had higher levels of happiness and mental well-being. As Marie Kondo, our queen of minimalism says, "Visible mess helps distract us from the true source of the disorder." When your living space is clear, you’ll have a better view of the things you have to work on.

When one feels physically better, it contributes to them feeling better mentally as well. Other than clearing the literal clutter around you, you can also take this time to reflect inwardly on yourself. You can reflect on your goals, your future paths, and what can you use this time for. Are you at where you want to be in life at this moment, and if not, how can you work yourself towards it? It doesn’t always have to be goal-driven either: simply keep yourself grounded by acknowledging how far you’ve come and reminding yourself to stay in the present. After all, reconnecting with yourself is always a good way to ensure that despite being alone, you know you can still count on yourself.

4. Go on to live streams or YouTube

Fortunately for the fitness enthusiasts out there, being at home does not stop YouTubers from uploading stay-at-home workout routines! Have your sweat sessions at home by following fitness channels such as Blogilates, POPSUGAR Fitness, Chloe Ting, and many more. With such a huge variety of videos, you can change up some of your fitness routines as well so that you won’t get bored.

Image: iStock

Furthermore, if you need some entertainment apart from drama series, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra had live-streamed its first concert on 12th March in providing comfort amidst the pandemic. Global Citizen has also launched their #TogetherAtHome movement, a virtual concert series created in partnership with WHO. This movement serves to encourage everyone to practice social distancing while in turn promoting global health. A number of musicians have taken part in this movement such as Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes, Niall Horan, One Republic, and Charlie Puth.

5. Cook your own meals and discover new recipes

Ever since we’ve been subjected to the Movement Control Order, I make it a point to wake up early to cook my own breakfast. There’s a certain extent of satisfaction in being able to make and enjoy your own food instead of rushing out the door for work with just a cup of coffee in your hand. If you’re staying with your family, it’s about time you carry the legacy in the kitchen by picking up some traditional family recipes! Plus, it’s a good time to take a break from all the Internet and bond with your family members.

This down time has allowed me to embrace the silence for a little bit. Life goes by so fast when we’re busy, it’s rare that we get to appreciate the little things that do make us happy.

I will end this piece with this quote:

“These are times we need trust more than doubt, care more than anger.”

Instead of spouting hatred and dissatisfaction, we should instead focus on keeping ourselves safe and using our time productively. We are not alone, let’s do our part to practice social distancing to flatten the curve.

You may find out more about Lily on her Instagram as well.

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