Today I attended my first social function where I kept my “social distance” from the other guests. I didn’t shake hands or embrace others. I even patted the guest of honor on the back. I thought I was going to explode!
I’m a hugger. Before I can commit to small talk, I must break the ice with a substantial mama bear hug. Today I felt odd and disconnected. How will I socialize (if that’s even allowed} or connect with others without hugging or touching?
We’ve all seen the memes on social media. There is currently an abundance of humorous toilet paper memes, and I’m grateful for the lighthearted fun we can have amid fear and uncertainty. There are also memes that point out how introverts are well prepared for the “social distancing” that is now thrust upon us. They too are funny, and I certainly enjoy humor in a tense situation.
However, I am truly concerned. My twins went to school in January two states away and I’ve been learning to cope with a new level of “aloneness.” It hasn’t been fun. The current events we are all facing hint at a possible new level of “aloneness” for all of us.
How will the new restrictions and guidelines affect us? As a society we’ve already introduced a new level of separation by our overuse of social media and electronic devices. Social distancing, closings of places where we traditionally socialize, and even quarantines threaten to thrust us into an even greater level of disconnectedness.
Don’t let it sneak into your life and don’t let it catch you off guard. Be proactive as life and the way we live seems to change moment by moment.
Being forced to stay home is a delight for some, a welcome rest. For others it can be uncomfortable and even isolating. Know that we’re all different. What loneliness means to you may be different for others. Never feel guilty for how you feel. Your deep need for connection is how you were created.
20 Ways to Avoid Isolation
To avoid feelings of isolation, here are 20 suggestions to help you take an active stance against feeling alone. Remember, although you feel alone, you are not alone. We are all in this together.
Notice the Needs of Others
It is amazing how much we gain when we take our focus off our own needs and sadness and reach out to others.
We rarely call each other anymore but it’s vital that we actually take the time to call each other and connect. Texting may be quicker, but we need connection right now so call a friend.
Be a Good Listener
As hard as it may be when you’re bursting to talk to someone, listen. Don’t interrupt and don’t make every conversation about yourself. Focus on your friend and get to know them on a deeper level.
Start a gratitude journal. Find things to be thankful for every day. Jot them down. Your mood will always improve with a thankful attitude.
A walk around the park does not need to include any close contact. Get together, outside in the fresh air and chat for a mile or so.
Check on Elderly Neighbors and Friends
Call those who may not be able to get out in public at all. See if they need anything.
A note from a friend or loved one can be a pleasant surprise in a mailbox for others who feel shut in.
Make a list of people who you should connect with every day. Call, send a text, send a card or facetime them on a regular basis.
Figure out how to play a game with someone over the internet or even facetime.
Share a Hobby
Set up a book club and discuss the book on Zoom. Connect with friends and each of you work on a project together from your individual homes. There are so many ways to be creative with this.
Play with your furry friends
Exercise and Diet
Begin an exercise class and diet plan with a group of friends. Contact daily to encourage each other toward success. Emerge from your home at the end of this like a butterfly instead of a couch potato.
We never seem to have time to plan for the future. We’re so busy rushing around in the present. Time alone setting goals is a great activity for this season.
Stay away from negative thoughts. If needed, write scriptures and quotes and keep them handy for when you begin to slide into loneliness.
Learn Something New
This is a great opportunity to learn something new, a new language, skill or something that will advance your knowledge and career.
Write the novel you’ve always dreamed of writing or your autobiography.
Get comfortable. Snuggle up with a good book, magazine or movie. Make a snack and hunker down for some entertainment and R&R.
Get to Know Yourself
Spend some time journaling. Write a future note to your future self or kids describing the great plague of 2020.
Learn to enjoy your own company – Most of us (especially extroverts) don’t like to be alone. We thrive in the company of others and we even process better with others. However uncomfortable it may be, the initial void that we wish to escape should be faced. We’ll grow, and when we’re able to run out of our houses again, we’ll be stronger and hopefully able to avoid the need for human instant gratification.
Pursue interests not people
This current epidemic that has affected the lives of people globally can affect us negatively, or we can do our best to take lemons and make lemonade. I am not making light of the situation. Currently I am separated from my daughters two states away and I’m not sure how this will affect their future plans or their ability to get home. They told me today about three friends in their internship that are now “locked” out of their counties and unable to go home. This is serious. BUT I like looking for solutions as opposed to dwelling on the problems.
Don’t become isolated. Try some of these steps and comment and add your own ideas here for others. Let’s all stay connected, positive and supportive and we’ll come out stronger on the other end of this crisis.
50 More Ideas to Help
I also want to offer you my free eBook. 50 Simple Spring Pleasures for Winter Weary Souls. Almost all these ideas are solitary activities that will bring you pleasure and fun. Download it here for 50 additional ideas to help you enjoy this separation time and not slip into isolation.
I also want you to know that if you are truly struggling call someone. Get help.
Join The Breezy Porch Facebook Group.
Be sure to join our Facebook group and we can stay connected that way too.
I am available by email and you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org