Quarantining removes us from the regular interactions we have with others and can lead to feelings of loneliness. Although we no longer have control over who we can see and when, we can take control over what we do about it. Making a commitment to take daily steps to address loneliness is important, as loneliness is known to promote depression. Below are ways you can reduce feelings of loneliness:
Set a daily schedule or routine that includes things you need to get done and things you enjoy
This could include a hobby you would like more time for, or home projects you’ve been meaning to get to. The most important things to include are enough time for sleep — keeping to a regular schedule, eating nutritious meals and exercising regularly.
If you don’t have a regular exercise routine consider vigorous walks or jogging if you’re not already doing that. Additionally, many yoga studios and gyms are currently offering free online workouts via YouTube.
Renew connections by reaching out to others you haven’t talked to in a while
Schedule regular virtual gatherings with supportive family or friends using apps you may already have access to such as Apple’s FaceTime and iMessage/group chat, or the popular and free messaging app called WhatsApp. Some online resources will even set you up with your own conference line at no cost (just be sure to check that the site is secure). You can plan to meet weekly or bi-weekly, monthly or whatever works best for everyone.
Keep in touch with co-workers
Share clean jokes, fun facts and check in with your favourite people to see how they’re doing. Even if you’re not working, keep in touch with your favourite work colleagues.
If you have a furry pet, spend extra time petting, cuddling and playing
This offers many health benefits including decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol levels and decreased feelings of loneliness. If you’ve been thinking of getting a pet, you can adopt a pet or foster one during this time. Closed shelters need to place pets quickly.
Find a friend to play games with online
If video games don’t interest you, consider other types of games such as Words with Friends, mahjong, cribbage, bridge and more. Some formats make online tournaments possible.
Consider online volunteering opportunities if you want to help others
Currently, there are many organizations in-need and many offer virtual volunteer opportunities.
Seek out humour
Whether it’s watching your favourite sitcom or listening to musical parodies online, find a way to laugh.
Stay connected with neighbours
Consider assisting neighbours in need by helping with yard work or other projects they may not be able to do themselves. On sunny days, go outside and chat with neighbours from afar.
Take time to express appreciation and gratitude for others in an e-mail, phone call or online platform
Make this a daily habit — as you prepare for sleep each night, think of three things you’re grateful for and maybe write them down.
Plan for the future
The pandemic will end. With extra time at home, you may have time to plan the itinerary for your dream vacation, or make a list of all the things you want to do that you haven’t been able to during this time.
If you don’t feel you currently have the energy or ability to take action for yourself, know that you’re not alone through this and there are resources available to help you. Please consider using the resources available through your employer, such as EAP Assist.