Since the start of lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus, social media has been awash with memes about social distancing, some of them focusing on the effect isolation has had on extroverts.
While many of these are objectively funny, the reality for many is not as throwaway as a clever meme. The disruption to daily life — the loss of the little touches, interactions and activities shared on a daily basis with friends in person — has left many extroverts, and even some introverts, feeling isolated. To go even further, those with underlying conditions may even feel completely alone, which can lead to more serious conditions, such as depression. As a second wave threatens to close up entire countries once again, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can break up the monotony of an isolated life.
Try Something New
Isolation can lead to listlessness, a feeling of drifting interminably from one identical day to the next, like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. So how can you break up the monotony? Do something you’ve never done before or always wanted to try!
You’ve probably seen a thousand banana cakes on your friends’ Instagrams since March, but perhaps cooking isn’t your forte. Instead, why not take the time to learn to paint? Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn how to play an instrument? Don’t like the arts? Why not build that piece of furniture to finish off your living room or learn how to code on your computer?
A change in routine can help break up your day and make you feel that you’re still living life to the fullest.
Send Physical Letters, Videos and Voice Memos
For many, the loss of seeing people in person, of that feeling of connection, takes a constant toll, so how can you fill that hole of physical contact or conversation?
One such way is through writing letters again. Letters have always been more intimate than a quick email. Take the time to write to someone you care about and remember what it was like to have them reply.
Of course, letters and emails can’t replace a look, a smile or a hug, or even the sound of a friend’s voice, but there are workarounds. For example, you can send voice messages with your phone, so instead of receiving emotionless text, you can hear that special someone’s voice; or send a video for your friend’s birthday instead of a text or email.
‘Game’ Online with Friends
Gaming is huge nowadays, and online gaming has been even more popular since social distancing became essential, but contrary to popular opinion, gaming doesn’t have to be a young person’s game.
There is an incredibly diverse world of games out there that almost anyone could find a niche that suits them, from mobile word games like Risk to traditional games like chess and Othello. If you’re missing someone who likes to play board games, why not hook up a camera, grab yourself a glass of wine and set up an online game with them?
Turn Your Home into a Movie Theater
Restrictions are constantly changing regarding what you can and cannot do, but none of that matters if you have a home theater fit for a king. Grab some popcorn, cozy up on the couch, and settle into a night at the movies from the comfort of your own home.
Exercise, Eat Well and Dance
It’s tempting to give up on everything after many months of isolation but exercising and eating well is vital for maintaining peace of mind. The world is so connected these days that you can exercise with people online through their video channels. While healthy foods are proven to improve a person’s mood, you can easily find like-minded food bloggers and foodies to connect with online.
It has also been suggested that dancing to loud music can be especially beneficial for extroverts, so the next time you’re feeling a bit glum, crank up the volume and let yourself go.
Whilst not with people, fresh air, sun and the colors of fall can help you feel connected to the world again. Dust off your bike and hit the countryside or go for a walk by a river. Our world is full to the brim with life and just being in it can be a balm for the soul.
Use Social Media Productively
It’s tempting to just dive in to social media and indulge — look at your friend’s #ThrowbackThursday to his holiday in Europe, or check out your sister’s photos of her drive through the country — but this isn’t always healthy or beneficial for your own mental health.
It’s well documented that what people post on social media isn’t always representative of reality, and so using social media for anything other than connecting with people can lead people to feeling like your life is worse than your friends’ or colleagues’.
However, this isn’t the case. We are all living through these exceptional times, and we have all been affected. Be kind to yourself; take a break from watching what others may or may not be doing while staying connected with them. Contrary to how you may feel, you are not alone; we are all living through this together.