I can’t deny that this is a horrible time. I have begun to feel lonely. I miss the ability to hug or spend time with friends. Life seems somewhat shallower. Sometimes it feels more like survival rather than living.
Loneliness hurts. It isn’t just a passing feeling. According to psychologists, it’s much more akin to hunger. It’s a biological warning sign telling you to look for a primary resource: other humans. The ache of loneliness drives us to look for social connections in a primeval way, just as hunger urges us to eat.
Maybe that’s the reason why people have shown amazing ingenuity in making virtual connections. We’re interacting with people by whatever means available. I enjoy eating dinner with friends over Skype or hearing from people I haven’t seen in months.
Where there are people, there is positivity. But I also know how your mind can run away with just one negative thought, brooding over the situation. So I’ve decided to share my tips on how to ease loneliness during these proving times.
I’m embarking on a 30-day challenge: every morning, I’m starting my day practicing yoga. It feels reassuring to have routine and to stretch out my body. Video classes on YouTube are particularly effective since they make me feel like there is someone else there doing yoga with me. I love combining yoga with music to get myself in the right physical and mental flow.
After that, I’m keeping my routine as close to normal as possible. I’ll have breakfast, get out of my pajama, shower, and start working. The key is being super-mindful about each and every activity. I don’t want my thoughts to spiral. I’m consciously doing one thing at a time, and I’m trying to be in the moment more than ever before.
To that end, meditation is particularly effective. Be a witness of what is in your mind, without turning into a judge. If you get distracted, redirect your focus to your breathing. Sometimes, it’s more constructive to just observe your feelings. Trying to numb down your loneliness is the equivalent of putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound.
Even in the midst of loneliness, I am finding some light. There is a strong feeling of union all around me. People are gathering on balconies and terraces to clap for health workers. Staying at home is helping me bond with my roommates.
A month ago, I met a woman named Hannah who lives nearby. We agreed we could meet up so that I could practice my German. I know I can’t see her now. But we’ve arranged Skype calls and we both relished the human contact.
There’s no doubt about it. This epidemic is terrifying. There is fear, there is worry, and there is loneliness. But there is also sunshine and people coming together in times of crisis. I for one am determined to harness hope.
We can do it. Together.