Coping with Loneliness

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By: Brooke Martin

Many tend to overlook their daily privileges and fortunes until they are taken away. Going to the grocery store, getting coffee with friends, boarding an airplane and so many other things we took for granted just a few months ago. With the Coronavirus quarantine, people are interacting with others less, staying in the same, confined spaces and are combating loneliness. Routines have changed as have the mindset of a lot of people. However, there are ways to cope with loneliness and even put it to good use.

“An important thing to remember is that being alone isn’t the same as being lonely.”

When you’re forced to go to school or work and are pestered by the pencil taps of the person next to you or the loud chatter of the room, you may want nothing more than to go home, change into sweats and lay in bed. Now with the quarantine, I feel that many of us go hours, if not days, without changing out of our sweats. We wake up later than we normally would and spend more time watching Netflix and snacking than ever before. The main communication we have with others not quarantining with us is text or Zoom calls. I didn’t even know what Zoom was a month ago, but now I rely on it to continue my education and to stay in touch with groups of friends. It’s one of the things I am most grateful for as of right now. But when I press ‘leave meeting’, I am suddenly all by myself again.

An important thing to remember is that being alone isn’t the same as being lonely. Being lonely is a feeling, whereas being alone is a circumstance. You can’t always control your circumstances, but you can control how you look at things and how you decide to move forward. You may even find benefits to having more ‘me time’. Below are tips to feel connected and happy in this uncertain time.

Take up a hobby

There are endless hobbies out there– one is sure to strike your interest. Rock painting, magic tricks, fostering a dog and candle making are just a few. Hobbies are great because they reduce stress, promote creativity and increase happiness and self-worth. Now is the perfect time to try out a new hobby.  

Stay in touch with friends and family

Belongingness and love (human interactions) is literally one of Abraham Maslow’s six fundamental human needs to live successfully. We are fortunate to live in an era of technological advancements and proficiency. Even though we may not be able to see or hug someone in person, we have text, Skype, Zoom, phone calls, email and so much more readily available at our fingertips. Now might be a good time to call your mom, especially if you haven’t in a while– she’s probably worried you don’t have enough toilet paper.

Perform a couple of things that make you happy

Small, simple things can have a huge impact on one’s mental health. Find and plan a few things every day to look forward to. This could be a morning cup of coffee with regular creamer, instead of the sugar-free creamer you’ve been using since you vowed to lose weight for your New Year’s resolution. Maybe a piece of chocolate, a warm bath or finally read that psychological thriller that’s collecting dust on your bookshelf.   

Stay active

Exercise has been proven to lower anxiety and depression. Make today the day you stop binging on ‘Tiger King’ while eating your chips with a *far away expiration date*, and try an at-home workout. Many at-home workout routines don’t even require equipment. While it’s possible no one may see you in a bikini until next summer, you can still get rid of your beer belly for you and your health.

Plan for the future

It may seem like the world is ending, but it’s NOT. Fantasize about your next vacation, dream about eating at your favorite restaurant when it eventually reopens and imagine what it will be like to be surrounded by your favorite people once this quarantine ends because it WILL end.

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