Living alone? Here's some tips to support you through isolation.
By Amy Crawford
Do you live alone? I've penned some ideas to help you navigate isolation as best you can. I live and work from home alone, and have been housebound due to illness for a substantial period of time in my past, so I like to think I'm a little bit qualified to offer some thoughts here. Of course, lots of these tips will be applicable to many, household company or not.
Remember, you get to decide what you think, say or feel.
So, make your thoughts count! If you keep choosing to be pessimistic I can promise you, life will only be more challenging for you. It's very easy to spiral when you have no one to talk you off a cliff. Try and catch your thoughts and reframe them before they get out of control. Ask yourself, is this simply a story I'm creating? Here's an example of how I found myself crying in a Coles supermarket recently, having lost control of that downward spiral!
Try not to fill your days/nights mindlessly scrolling social media or reading COVID-19 updates
As above, you need to guard your mental health very carefully, so get your updates and leave it at that. I now limit my reading and updates to 1 hour per day, usually sourced from The Guardian and The Conversation.
Monitor what you watch on Netflix!
If it in any way upsets your nervous system, consider making a more uplifting and positive choice.
Ensure you have regular Skype/Zoom calls set up with friends/family.
Coffee catch ups, drink o'clock, brunch.. all of this can be done via video and help you stay connected to loved ones. One instagram follower said she was having virtual movie dates via Skype!
Nourish yourself with good food!
Don't let yourself get lazy at meal times, even though you are cooking for one. The best thing you can do for yourself is to eat really well right now. But, keep it easy and consider one pot wonders like my Mexican pumpkin soup with rice.
Practise self care and make it extra special.
Got a bath? Use essential oils and candles. Settle into the couch complete with face and hair masks, every week.
Try and be outward thinking, where you can.
It's easy to get stuck in a place of 'woe is me' 'my life sucks' 'I'm all alone' - but when you actively choose to think of others and their welfare, this makes you feel good. Your married friends have their own challenges to face, as do those with kids now homeschooling. Everyone is facing their own challenge, it's worth never forgetting that.
Single? Don't give up on online dating!
Connect with people, enjoy your conversations online. Bumble now have a video option so you can have virtual dates from the comfort of your couch! And, whilst I have you, make sure you read this post for a more positive online dating experience!
Indoor planter lover or not, start growing more plants!
This will give you something else to care for on a regular basis and help fill in your hours. It will also bring you joy watching them grow (well at least, I hope they grow!).
Keep moving, whilst you can.
Exercise is so immensely good for your mental health. Did you know that walking is the superfood of exercise?
Send voice messages.
Via text, WhatsApp or Messenger, instead of typing texts and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Hearing other people's voices is so much lovelier than reading their words and will help give you a little boost.
Don't sit around in active wear and tracky dacks all day every day. Making an effort gives you a sense of purpose, helps you feel a greater degree of normalcy and actually helps put me in a more productive mindset for work.
Come to appreciate the space to do the things you put off.
Up until recently we were all saying we were too damn busy to get anything done. Well, now's the time! Last weekend my pantry was cleaned for the first time in THREE years! I'm committing to doing a drawer or a cupboard a week and it's already feeling immensely satisfying. What about all the books piling up that you keep pushing aside in favour of DOING? Pop your feet up, go read them!
Sending so much love to you, wherever you are in the world, and with it a gentle reminder that we are all in this together. Consider forwarding this to anyone you know who could do with extra support during this time x