5 tips to cope with loneliness
The COVID-19 lockdown has severely restricted everyone’s social life, and it’s likely to be a lot worse if you’re in quarantine with symptoms or if you live alone. Social distancing makes even outside interactions strange; usually, one might greet a friend on the street with a hug, but now even seeing them is far less likely. Don’t worry; lockdown won’t last forever, and here are some tips to help you in the meantime.
1 Take care of your health in general
If you’re looking after your mental and physical health, you’ll feel better and have less time to brood. If you can’t get outside, exercise videos are all over YouTube and make sure you have plenty of healthy food stored up (tinned if necessary). Now might be a good time to try meditation, if you haven’t before. See our previous articles for more general ideas.
2. Call someone
Phone contact with loved ones is vital right now, especially if they live alone too. If the phone’s not enough, install Skype; it’s free, and you’ll get to see each other’s faces. Try setting up games to play over Skype – if you both have the same board game, you can use the video chat to tell where each player’s pieces are! If that’s too complicated, Google ‘multiplayer puzzle games’ or ‘online games with friends’. One popular game at the moment is online escape rooms, in which multiple players work together to solve clues.
If you need someone else to call, there are plenty of mental health helplines, such as the Samaritans (116 123), who will be happy to help.
3. Keep occupied
If you’re still working, make sure you’re keeping up with it. If not, you might have found yourself drifting, unstructured, and this can make you feel worse. Try to keep to a routine similar to the one you have in your usual life; get up and go to bed at the same times, eat at the same times, etc. If you don’t have enough to do, take the time to clean your home really well, or learn a new skill like drawing or baking or singing – there are online courses in all kinds of things, and many are free. Try Udemy or Skillshare for some ideas. Staying busy will leave you with less time to think about how lonely you are, and you can impress your family when you Skype them by showing off what you’ve learned.
4. Join an online club
There are plenty of forums and blogs out there on every topic you can think of, and there’s bound to be a community you’ll enjoy. We don’t recommend using the internet to avoid socialising in real life, but when socialising in real life isn’t an option, it can be vital. Find some like-minded people and talk about something you find interesting! Try checking the Facebook pages of clubs in your local area, so if there’s one you like the look of, you have something to look forward to when lockdown ends, and can get to know the people already there online in the meantime.
5. Listen to recorded voices
If you really want to hear someone else’s voice again, there are plenty of videos on YouTube of people talking to the listener. Try searching for things like ‘guided meditation loneliness'. Or play a talk radio programme, conversation audio or audiobook in the background as you work so it sounds like someone else is nearby.
We wish you the best in getting through this hard time.
And, of course, if you need help, reach out. I'd be happy to help and you can call or email me even if we can't meet up for therapy at present.
Debbie Waller is a professional hypnotherapist, specialising in stress, anxiety and related issues. She also offers EMDR which is used for trauma, PTSD, phobias and OCD and publishes hypnotherapy-for-ibs.co.uk for those interested in using hypnotherapy to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Debbie owns a multi-accredited hypnotherapy school, Yorkshire Hypnotherapy Training and offers further training for qualified therapists via CPD Expert. She is the author of Their Worlds, Your Words, editor and contributor to the online magazine Hypnotherapy Training & Practitioner, and co-author of The Hypnotherapy Handbook.
For more information on any of these services, phone 01977 678593.
Researcher & drafter: Rachel Waller.