05 May, 2020

For those who live alone, social distancing guidelines mean being more cut off than ever.

Self-isolation is impacting us all, but people stuck at home without company may be particularly struggling without human contact.

This is new territory for all of us. We’ve never had to physically isolate ourselves from our loved ones for an extended period of time before. And it’s totally normal to feel uncomfortable, anxious, and lonely.

If you live alone, there are a few ways to prioritise your mental health and make social distancing less lonely and more manageable.


Maintain Connections

Social distancing has our social calendars looking pretty sad. Enter: technology.

It’s more important than ever to maintain connections with friends and family – especially if you’re not getting your usual social fix in the home.

Replace in-person catch-ups with virtual check-ins via phone and video calls. Plenty of your normal social activities can be continued over video call – from book clubs to happy hour.

Try to schedule regular check-ins with your loved ones to maintain social contact and connect with your support network every week. They don’t have to be lengthy conversations every time – just a quick 10-minute chat can make all the difference.


Plan Something Exciting

Sure, we’ve had to cancel exciting social events and put plans on the backburner. But just because we may not be able to tick off our plans doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep daydreaming about them.

According to research, anticipating a positive event can help reduce negative emotions, increase positive emotions, and improve our ability to cope during stressful times. So whether it’s a holiday or a party, planning an event to anticipate may help lift your spirits.


Find a Routine You Love

There’s a lot going on right now that’s out of our control. A great way to cope with uncertainty is to take control of what we can – like our daily routine. This is a great time to create new habits and make a routine you want to jump out of bed for.

When creating your routine, consider the activities that make you feel good and support you to accomplish the things you need to each day. For example, you might like to start the day with a walk and a shower to feel energised.

A few building blocks of a routine that supports mental health include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating healthy foods
  • Staying hydrated
  • Moving your body.
Want to see how famous historical figures like Benjamin Franklin and Pablo Picasso spent their days? Check out this interesting infographic.


Challenge Yourself

Keep your mind occupied by engaging in a creative pursuit. This could be learning a foreign language, picking up an instrument, trying a new recipe, or expressing yourself through painting.

Trying something new is a great way to stay busy, build confidence, and take your mind off worries and responsibilities for a while. In fact, research shows creative hobbies can reduce stress just as well as exercise.


Get Out of the House

Being cooped up at home without company is a recipe for cabin fever. Not to mention, entering hibernation mode can have negative impacts on your mental health.

Nature is known to help alleviate feelings of anxiety and boost your mood. So whether you’re going for a walk at a national park or simply appreciating your garden, take time to get outside in the fresh air and sunshine every day. If nothing else, it’ll at least give you a change of scenery from your living room.


Prioritise Self-Care

In the spirit of looking on the bright side, why not take self-isolation as an opportunity to focus on your self-care? COVID-19 has forced many of us to slow down and take stock of how we normally spend our time. And it turns out a lot of us don’t normally prioritise our self-care.

The current health situation is pretty overwhelming and stressful. So now that we have some spare time up our sleeves, we think it’s important to take extra care of our mental and emotional wellbeing.

Here are some self-care activities you can do during the coronavirus:

  • Take a bubble bath, complete with candles and music
  • Start the day with a guided meditation or some gentle stretching
  • Give yourself a pedicure while wearing a face mask
  • Put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ while reading a good book
  • Order your favourite meal from your favourite restaurant
  • Get a takeaway coffee or hot chocolate and drink it in a park (if social distancing rules allow you to).
Discover more tips to protect your emotional wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.


Talk to Someone

Finally, if you’re feeling lonely or not coping well during this tough time, reach out to someone you trust. Feelings of anxiety around the coronavirus and social distancing are normal, and talking them through can help you understand and manage these feelings.

If you don’t have someone to talk to, try writing your feelings down in a journal. Or you can call our telephone counsellors on 1300 364 277 between 8am-8pm Monday-Friday and 10am-4pm Saturday.

For more inspiration, check out these 10 ways to make the most of self-isolation.