Loneliness is a circumstance that’s relative to the amount of social contact we believe is necessary for our health. It’s a variable, and as such, how it’s perceived is going to be different for everyone. Some people are going to have a much higher tolerance for being alone. Right now, the lockdown that’s in place is an introvert’s dream and extrovert worst nightmare. However, no matter how self-sufficient we may be, loneliness does strike at the heart of us all, eventually. There’s only so long we can go without human contact. We need interaction for the sake our mental health and emotional wellbeing.
When you’re lonely, you’re in a state of distress. It’s not the same as feeling alone. There is a difference. You can acknowledge you’re alone without feeling lonely. It really is all the mind. Loneliness comes from a need that is perceived to be unfulfilled. There is an emotional response that comes from interacting with others. But you can find alternative ways of creating these emotions by keeping an active mind and engaging in other pursuits.
The first thing you can do for yourself – and this has been said many times already – is limit your exposure to any form of media that’s going to reinforce your situation. The news is along with social media are the prime culprits responsible for reminding us of our loneliness. The pandemic is currently the only story in the world being reported. And the more you hear the words quarantine, lockdown, self-isolation, the more chance you have of slipping into a depressive state.
However, you’ll need to find something meaningful to fill the hours you have alone – to make them feel less lonely. Any form of creative pursuit such as art, writing and music are an ideal source of entertainment because they represent a skill that takes many years to master. But there are all kinds of pursuits that fall within this bracket. You could journal, start a blog, write poetry short stories, follow along with drawing tutorials online and even use an adult colouring book if you don’t feel confident enough to create your own work.
Your primary motivation is to keep yourself active and engaged. If you allow yourself to fall into a slump and while away the hours doing nothing of note, it will only remind you of what you’re missing. At present, of course, it is still possible to go outside and exercise. Although we still need to practice social distancing, you can still see other people, which can lessen the effect of feeling so isolated.
If you simply can’t go outside because you’ve displayed symptoms or in one of the high-risk groups of people, the best thing you can do for yourself is to practice as much self-care as you can. Do something that makes you happy. Watch a comedy, cook something hearty, take a bath. Whatever being good to yourself means to you, do that. Your loneliness is just a state of mind. Now is time to become your own greatest companion.