Being alone doesn’t have to mean feeling lonely.

Time spent alone can be an opportunity to get to know yourself better. Find out how much fun it can be to date yourself!

A cartoon of a curly-haired woman meditating in a cross-legged pose. Loneliness
Get comfortable with yourself. Illustration by Anne Young.

For those of us living with others, loneliness can be more complex. Being constantly in contact with family, partners, or roommates can leave us feeling isolated and in need of alone time. If this is the case, you can plan to spend time separated. For example, make it a routine that on Sunday nights everyone goes to a different space and does their own thing, uninterrupted.

For people working at home, it can feel like your apron strings are constantly being pulled by work emails or other needy contacts.  Periodically unplugging is essential.  Here are some other tips for combating loneliness at a distance.

Pick up the Phone

That’s right: your phone is not just for mindlessly scrolling Reddit and texting. It is also a phone, just like people use in those old-time movies. You can directly converse with people in real-time. Phone calls can feel more personal than texting.

A cartoon of a woman holding a phone with a speech bubble that reads "Pick up the phone, you're not alone." Loneliness
Just like those old-time movies. Illustration by Anne Young.

Not only can you make calls, but you can also answer incoming calls. Take a chance on an unknown number and see who wants to talk to you! Keep a telemarketer on the phone. Listen to what they have to say. Ask them how their day is going and thank them profusely for calling. Before you know it, they’ll be trying to hang up on you.

Write Letters

Writing letters can be a great way to connect. If you’re not wordy, make a card, draw a picture, or include a small gift.

An illustration of three letters and a quill in a bottle of ink showing how letter writing can help loneliness.
A letter goes a long way. Illustration by Anne Young.

Just make sure to deposit your letter in an official Canada Post outgoing mailbox as carrier pigeons are scarce in London.

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Join an Online Group

There are so many groups based around shared interests, including community support (such as Caremongering London, ON). It’s still possible to meet new people who share common interests during a pandemic! You might have what someone else needs to be more comfortable and connected during lockdown.

Connect in the Great Outdoors

Small gestures can really boost your mood and help you to feel connected. A quick “hello”  or a wave while passing on the pathway is a low-risk way to connect. I’ve even had a few friendly shouted conversations with my neighbours from a safe distance.

On the other hand, it can be nice to get away from people. Go to one of the city’s parks and enjoy the company of squirrels, rabbits, birds. You may even find yourself engaged in a compelling argument with a Canada goose.

Use Podcasts, Youtube, TV Talk Shows and Audio Books

We know how important self-talk is. To make it easier, use someone else’s voice. Try a guided meditation or listen to podcasts while you go about your daily routine.

An illustration of a woman wearing headphones with the words "You Can Do It!" above her head.
Self-talk with a little help. Illustration by Anne Young.

For example, I listen to my favorite podcast every evening while making dinner. If you are eating alone, some Youtubers provide mealtime videos, such as videos that mimic the experience of eating with a co-worker on break. You could also have your fortune told while you eat. You might even be inspired to start your own podcast or channel.

Check In on Social Media

Your friends really do want to keep in touch, even if it’s knowing that you finally clipped your toenails for the first time in months. It shows you’re alive, you care, and they are not having the worst lockdown ever (you are). Remember, you’re not the only one feeling alone. Think about people you know you might be especially isolated during this time and reach out. Ask if they need anything.

In the same vein, it’s fun to drop off gifts and trade items without physical contact. Exchange books, share homemade cookies, or drop off your kid’s clothes they outgrew (it’s not like we’re going shopping anytime soon). Just make sure to clean and quarantine the items before drop-off.

Be Grateful for All the People You Don’t Have to See!

. . . and the things you don’t have to do to please them. That annoying co-worker? That relative who always comments negatively on your weight/relationship status/career progress? Folks who harass you on public transit? Poof. Gone. Just like that. They are legally required to stay away from you!

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