Article by Ceri Wheeldon
We are all having to change how we live our lives – but many individuals with families are talking about how they are enjoying reconnecting with their children , and couples are enjoying slowing down and spending time together. But what about those who live alone?
I live on my own, as do many of my friends. It is not easy having no face to face contact with others. It has been more than three weeks since I last met a friend for a coffee – since then all my contact has been over the phone or via video chats. One friend who lives alone lost her mother just before the lockdown – aside from worrying about her newly widowed father who is grieving and coping to his new reality alone, she is also grieving – and would give anything for a hug.
In chatting with single friends who are all self isolating, I have put together a list of what is working for us.
9 Tips for Feeling Less Lonely During Lockdown
- Establish a routine. Make sure you differentiate between your weekdays if you are working from home, and the weekends when normally you would be socialising and be out and about doing things. This may mean dressing up on a Friday evening and treating yourself to a cocktail – just to define the end of your working week and the start of your ‘me time’.
- Keep communicating with friends and family – whether by phone, email or by sending quick texts or WhatsApp messages. Stay connected. If you normally attend a book club, try meeting for your next one via Zoom. Agree with a friend a specific film or TV programme to watch so that you can discuss it afterwards. With one friend we are planning to meet for cocktails when this is all over – each weekend we are choosing our favourite cocktail and adding it to the list . Not that we have to actually drink them all – it just marks the end of another week in isolation and gives us something positive to look forward to.
- Set yourself some projects to do on weekends There is only so much spring cleaning you can do and sorting your knicker drawer can only distract for so long. Why not refurbish a piece of furniture, take an online course, research your family tree, start the book you’ve always wanted to write, put together a playlist on Spotify. Do something enjoyable that you don’t normally have time to do.
- Take advantage of being able to go out for a daily walk – even though you have to keep your distance at least you are seeing humans! Just being outside is good for raising spirits. Find an exercise routine online that you think you will enjoy. If you usually attend classes, check to see if your instructor is offering online sessions.
- Avoid the news! We all want to keep up to date regarding what’s happening, but when you are at home alone there can be a temptation to check news sites frequently and watch all the news programmes on TV. Limit the times you check in – do you really need more than one brief daily update? Rather than be pulled into a dialogue that is mostly negative – ensure you are aware of the key points and any changes in isolation rules, but focus the rest of your time in isolation on more positive and productive activities.
- Think positive and think ahead. Make a list of the things you want to do once the lockdown period is over.
- Invest in you. Are there courses you could be taking now to update your skills and marketability in the workplace once lockdown is over? Do you need to sort out your finances. There are great modules (which can all be bought individually) in the MidLife MOT programme which will help you work through your skills, career options, finances etc. It is never too late to get your life in order – or reinvent your future.
- Pamper yourself. Take time out to have candle -lit baths. Have that home facial. Experiment with your make-up .
- Don’t let your standards slip. This is a favourite expression of my 80 year old mother, who has decided that through lockdown she will still wear her best cashmere. So make sure that even if you are ‘dressing down’ to work from home that you are still doing so with style. If we look good we feel good. There is no reason not to style your hair or do your make-up just because you are in isolation . You never know who might video call ?
Stay well, stay safe. Make the most of this time to reflect, plan – and look forward to the end of this period with more energy and a fresh perspective.