This week is a continuation of the blog from last week…how does one practice good, healthy self-care during a pandemic? What are ways to help build energy, relieve stress, and just simply have some enjoyment?
Last week we looked at ways to take care of ourselves while quarantined at home with a family and feeling like you never have any time alone. This week we will address the opposite…you live alone and are feeling the isolation and need for human connection, interaction, and support.
While it is a challenge to find quality time alone while at home with a family…trying to work, becoming your children’s school teacher, taking care of the financial and domestic responsibilities, and planning and preparing 3 meals a day for 7 days a week (not to mention the cleaning up)…it is just as challenging for those who live alone to find quality self-care activities and then muster up the energy to actually follow through with them.
Depending on whether you are more introverted (find renewed energy from within yourself) or extroverted (energized by being with and around others) will determine how and what you may choose to meet your self-care needs.
If you are more introverted, your inner self may be liking the space and alone time…maybe a little too much. You are getting to things that have been on your “To Do” list for years! Yet humans are made for relationship. Even though it may take energy to connect with others, it can bring a feeling of joy and happiness. It would be good for you to reach out on a regular basis to connect with a friend or two or possibly a family member or two. You could set up a video call on FaceTime, Zoom, What’s App or whatever venue works. Don’t worry if you are technologically challenged. Most of these platforms are very simple to use.
If you are more extroverted, the isolation may seem overwhelming and confining. Sure, you have your work and the occasional work Zoom or WebEx meeting but having dinner with your friends or taking in a movie are off the table right now. Some places are slowly opening up for you to get your hair cut or treat yourself to a pedicure as an outlet. As with those who are more introverted, it is now even more necessary for extroverts to stay connected to friends and family via some video platform. Seeing a real, live person usually brings a greater sense of closeness than a simple voice call. This is not to say that voice calls are not helpful or important.
The main thing to remember when the feelings of overwhelm or fear or loneness or anxiety come is to take a few deep breaths, center yourself in the present (what is happening right now) and then DO something…
- Take a walk or bike ride
- Pick up a magazine with a cup of tea
- Take a drive to a friend’s house and wave to them in their driveway
- Call a friend or family member
- Set up a time to video chat with a friend or family member
- Take a bubble bath
- Plan a fishing or boating outing
- Sign up for an online cooking or baking class
- Take an online dance class
- Join an interesting Facebook group
- Take an online painting class
- Schedule a virtual dinner date with a friend
You get the idea…focus on something you CAN do instead of ruminating on what you are not able to do in the present.
I encourage you to ponder on the things that help you feel energized and connected. If the quarantine is taking you to a lonely, sad place please seek help. You can seek help from a clergy, a friend or family member, or a licensed professional. The crisis hotline is always open at 211 and calling 911 is also appropriate when needing help through a difficult time.
Remember we are all experiencing these times of adjustment together and most people are very willing to help out when they know of other’s in need.
Carma R. Kuhn, M.Ed., LMHC – firstname.lastname@example.org – 321.251.8344