The world has obviously changed quite a bit in the past year, and many of those changes have been a bit difficult to navigate. If you are feeling lost during COVID-19, you aren’t alone. Many people are feeling lost, isolated, and even fearful. This is a new situation with a lot of unknowns.
While it is perfectly normal to feel lost and ok to acknowledge that feeling, there are also things that can be done to help alleviate it. It’s important to remember that there is no one size fits all solution. Different ideas will help different people. However, here are some of the things that can be done to reduce the feeling of loneliness while life is more isolated.
- Set a Reoccurring Get Together
Social distancing really only means physical distancing. We can still be social. One thing that many people have elected to do in order to promote connection and decrease feeling isolated is to schedule a reoccurring get together with friends. Whether it’s a Netflix video date or wine night, the thing that is most important is the company.
In fact, a close friend was telling me the other day that he and a group of his friends from around the country have been spending a couple of hours every Thursday night playing poker online since April. The funny thing is he doesn’t even like poker. But he noted that he looks forward to it all week.
- Spend time Outside
One thing that is still available is spending time outdoors. Research has shown that viral transmission outdoors is relatively low. Additionally, it is easy to stay physically distanced when outside. Spending time outdoors can be a great stress reliever and reduce feelings of isolation.
If you are someone that enjoys activities such as running, biking, or hiking, periodic time outdoors can greatly help retain a sense of normalcy. If you aren’t into these types of activities, you may still find that something as simple as a walk around the neighbourhood. Just getting an hour of sunlight can help stem feelings of loneliness.
- Keep a Schedule
This isn’t something that is inherently a “fun” thing, but keeping a schedule is very important for helping maintain a sense of normalcy in trying times. Having a normal time to wake up and go to bed is a good start, and can help ensure rest. Additionally, sticking with basic routines like getting dressed, taking a bath, and other common routines is important for self-care.
By keeping a schedule, life will feel more normal. It will help you to feel less lost if you continue to practice similar routines. This is a small thing that is easy to incorporate and can have significant benefits for your mental health.
- Learn Something New
If you find yourself with extra time on your hands and don’t know how to feel it, one thing many people have enjoyed is learning something new. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to paint or crochet. Maybe you’d like to learn to play guitar. My friend is currently learning French using an app on her phone. There are many options.
One of the best ways to decrease feeling isolated is to engage your brain. Learning something new is a great way to do that. It also gives you something to look forward to and a new way to feel like life has an additional purpose or point of interest, helping you feel a bit less lost amidst the pandemic.
- Make Plans for the Future
Life is often difficult if there aren’t things to look forward to. The pandemic has cancelled many things that people typically enjoy. However, there are still things that can be done while abiding by health and safety guidelines. Make some plans. A major driver of fear is typically the unknown, so having some things on the calendar to look forward to can make us less fearful.
Additionally, it is important to remember that this current environment will not last forever. Brainstorming about things to do after the pandemic is over can provide us with hope. Maybe there is a dream vacation you’d like to schedule. Maybe you want to plan a huge celebration with extended family. Make your post-pandemic plans to create something to look forward to!
The pandemic has been difficult for many of us. There have been times when I’ve felt fearful and lost. However, I have found that there are a number of things I can do that have helped me learn to help myself to find joy during this time. Hopefully these suggestions will help you find a strategy for creating some positive space for you as well.