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Self-Isolating Or Quarantining Alone? Here’s How To Deal

There are ways to embrace solitude but stay connected at the same time…

The last few weeks of quarantine have been testing even the most introverted of introverts. People who usually look forward to unwinding by themselves in a place that’s all theirs are now realizing there really is such a thing as too much alone time. The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard for all of us, but for people who live alone, self-quarantine has its own unique challenges.

There are pros (not worrying about anyone else bringing germs in) and cons (you WILL start talking to yourself) to being alone during this time and we all just have to make the best of our circumstances. Here’s how to deal with the cabin fever, loneliness and uncertainty when you’re self-quarantining solo.

Set up a new a routine
There’s a lot of advice out there telling you to adhere to your usual routine as much as you possibly can. Even though you’re not at the office, starting work at the same time every day will help you feel like you’re functioning somewhat normally. There is a lot going on that we can’t control, but we can control our schedule. At the same time, one of the nice things about working from home is the flexibility. You don’t have a commute anymore, so use that time to get in a morning workout. Or cook breakfast. Or sleep in just a little but later than you normally would.

However you choose to structure your day, try to keep it consistent. When you have a routine, you’ll have less time to think about how you wish you had some company—and when life does start to slowly get back to normal, you won’t have as many bad habits to ween yourself off of.

Cook up a storm
Whether cooking for one is an art you’ve mastered or not, now is the time to start experimenting. There’s no danger of leftovers going uneaten for days because you had to hit that new restaurant that just opened up down the street so now is your chance to try your hand at all those recipes you saved in the past and never got around to making.

Since there’s no one around to judge you, it’s super tempting to just eat a bag of chips for dinner, but try to keep that to a minimum. Don’t forget to share all your successes—and failures—on social media to spark conversation with your friends and family. After all, everyone else has already attempted to bake bread, you might as well too.

Say yes to every video chat
You may be physically alone, but now is the time to flex your social muscles and think outside the box when it comes to what it means to keep in touch. From FaceTime to Zoom to Skype, there are plenty of ways to hear voices and see faces in real time.

While texting might be sufficient when life is busy, these days most of us are spending our mornings, and afternoons, and evenings at home often searching for something to do other than work, eat, and sleep. Whether you need someone to talk to about how anxious you’re feeling or just need a distraction from the news for awhile, reach out. Not many people are saying no to an impromptu (or scheduled, if that’s your thing) video chat right now.

Keep moving
The temptation to remain parked in front of your TV day after day is real. But it’s even more important now than ever to keep your body moving. Whether it’s going out for a walk every day, trying an IG live yoga class, or following along to a YouTube workout, getting your heart rate up can do wonders for your immune system—and your mood.

Since you live alone, you don’t have to worry about who you’re inconveniencing by monopolizing the living room for your daily workout. Joining a live workout can also help give you that sense of community you’ve been missing. Guaranteed, even if you can’t see each other, you’re definitely all struggling through that burpee set.

Stay clean
It may be true that no one is going to know if you haven’t washed your hair in four days or if there’s a pile of dirty dishes in your sink. But you, no one else, have to live in the environment you’re creating for yourself, so wouldn’t you rather keep in clean? Go ahead and wear the same track pants for days on end, in fact, it’s weird if you don’t. But know when it’s time to switch them out.

Now is a great time to clean out your cupboards, edit your closet, alphabetize your bookshelf, and organize your finances. Make the best of all your alone time and check some things off your to-do list for when life starts going back to normal.

Let yourself feel your emotions
Accepting that everything has changed isn’t going to happen overnight. Feeling anxious, sad, disoriented, angry and every other emotion on the spectrum is totally normal. Talking to your friends and family will help you feel less alone and remind you that we’re all in this together. Many therapists offer appointments online, so if you feel like you aren’t handling things as well as you could, don’t be afraid to make an appointment. Above all, now is the time to be kind to yourself and try to embrace positivity as much as you can.

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