I write today for a friend.
She felt lonely before the quarantine but it’s really hitting her hard now. When I refer to the word lonely it’s not to say that she doesn’t have friends, or she doesn’t have family. In fact, before the social distancing you could always find her surrounded by people.
She has over a thousand Facebook and Instagram followers and she posts regularly. It’s usually some sarcastic or funny post that fits her personality to a T and she always has several comments in response. But she would always let me in on her secret. She felt alone.
She told me that all those people that she talks to or that comment on her posts are not really her friends. And not because they couldn’t be true friends but more so that she wouldn’t allow them in. She would not let them get close to the true core of who she was. She felt alone.
She recently went through a breakup with “the One”. The One she had been dating for several years. She thought she was supposed to be married with a child or children by now. In her 30’s, childless and no relationship — she feels alone.
She is the sole provider for her mother as her father has passed and her siblings have moved away. Her mother, aka her Heart is older now and it’s starting to show. She feels the burden of making sure her Heart is well taken care of and has everything she needs— ALL THE TIME. This occupies her mind with worry, every calm moment that passes. She feels alone.
Now with social distancing and not being able to go to work — her only source of human interaction — she is desperate. She is desperate to fill the quiet moments with loud music and TV noise.
Wanting something to cease her mind from thinking about how lonely she feels. Everyday is becoming more of a chore. And her home, once her safe haven, has started to feel more stressful than ever.
Sometimes she turns to recreational drugs but more often she finds herself praying. Praying for help, for clarity, for strength. But to be honest, I feel her faith is crumbling.
She prays but as soon as the prayer is over, she drowns herself with the help of substances or the conversation of undeserving men. But that’s my assessment, not sure if that is being judgmental. We have all been in a moment of weakness or brokenness and should not offer judging eyes or looks.
Instead, let me apologize for my thoughts and offer words of encouragement.
Friend, I can tell you are having a difficult time and you feel like the light at the end of the tunnel is dim. But, the mere fact that you can see a flicker of light shows that you still have hope. This too shall pass. I’m not just talking about this moment of social distancing but this moment of feeling alone. We will get through this together. I am here for you if you need to talk and I will be checking in.
NOTE: This story has been approved to share with you all in hopes of helping someone else. I too have had this feeling and have mastered the art of the fake smile but I will save my story for another post.
Here are 15 ways to help cope with the loneliness (while social distancing)
1. Read a book.
Preferably fiction, motivational, or inspirational. Some highly recommended books include, “Little Fires Everywhere”, “You are a Badass”, “Girl, Wash Your Face”, and “American Dirt”. Oprah’s Book Club and Goodreads are great references if you need help finding the right book for you.
Don’t like to read? No Problem! Audible makes it easy and affordable to listen to books on your tablet or phone.
2. Play Video games or Games on your Tablet or Phone
Ok, so I have not played video games since high school which was decades ago but I hear there are some amazing games out there now. As for phone games, Candy Crush is an all time favorite. These are great ways to pass the time.
3. Watch a Good Show or Movie on Netflix or Hulu
With so many streaming options with free trials there i s no reason not to find a good show to get tuned into. If you need some suggestions, check out my previous post here.
4. Take a Long Bubble Bath
Pamper yourself and enjoy the stillness we have right now. Remember Self-care is Never selfish.
5. Cook or Bake a New Recipe or Something that you have been Craving
There are plenty of Youtube videos, websites, cooking shows, and cookbooks that will coach you along the way. I have a weakness for cooking comfort foods and sometimes pretend I am on my own cooking show. Watch out Rachel Ray!
7. Play an Instrument
Maybe you are like me and have an old stringed instrument or dusty piano that could use some love. Now is the time to tune it up and possibly create a new future side gig.
8. De-clutter your Life
Have you been frustrated with your closet. Never able to find that favorite shirt or pair of jeans when you need it most? Let’s start organizing. Do some spring cleaning and create those boxes or trash bags of Keep, Donate, and Trash to help simplify your life.
9. Call Someone who Lifts your Spirits
Now is the time to surround yourself with positive energy. Lean on that friend who builds you up.
10. Online Therapy
If you are interested in therapy there are multiple options including video conferencing, live chats, phone calls, or messaging. Talkspace is the most marketed online source but you can also find local therapists by searching Google or Bing or recommendations through family/friends.
Exercise does not have to feel like exercise. YouTube has free videos for dance classes, yoga, or anything that piques your interest. Just get your body in motion.
12. Go Outside
I make it a priority to get fresh air everyday. The sun brings me joy. Cheesy, I know but it’s so true. Find a spot that you feel comfortable and just take a moment to be present in nature.
13. Start Planning a Future Trip or Outing
This will give you something to look forward to and help you focus on something fun. Plus, there are great deals with Airbnb and flights at this time.
13. Host a Virtual Party
Right now is the best time to reach out to family and friends and enjoy a quick card game or game of Pictionary. Click here for a guide on how to host your very own virtual party.
14. Listen to Podcasts and Journal
Find some podcasts that glow with positivity and take notes on what lights you up. This has been the most helpful for motivating and encouraging me. I will write down moments or words that I hear and read later when I need a pick me up.
“Don’t Keep Your Day Job” is one of my all time fave podcasts.
15. Re-write your Goals
Although we have inched past the beginning of the new year, with social distancing now is the PERFECT time to hit the reset button and re-evaluate your goals or maybe just write down some goals. The possibilities are endless. Remember if you think you can, then you can.
This list is to help during this time of social distancing. During normal circumstances, interaction can be one of the best remedies for loneliness. Things such as joining a cycling or art class, or meeting up with friends or family, or even getting a pet can be beneficial.
I hope this helps and provides you some relief. If you have any other suggestions on what has helped you through a difficult moment, feel free to leave in the comments or send me an email for questions or more information.