Going through yet another lockdown alone? And experiencing a mess of feelings you didn’t quite expect?

Is living alone, something you once loved or even bragged about, starting to feel less and less manageable, and more and more lonely?

Lockdown loneliness

Lockdown loneliness is a new beast affecting even the most happily independent and single amongst us. Cut yourself some slack if it's biting at your heels, too.

It’s one thing, after all, to live alone if you know you can go see friends or family when you want. Or enjoy a stroll through crowds of people or sit in a busy cafe. It’s quite another to be faced with your own company relentlessly.

A survey taken nine months into lockdown restrictions and published on the Mental Health Foundation website suggests that one in four people in the UK now struggle with feeling alone.

Are you dealing with these self confinement symptoms?

It's not unusual to find that yet another lockdown alone means you are:

  • overthinking all your past life decisions
  • wondering if there is something wrong with you that you are always alone
  • feeling left out in a way you haven’t before
  • living through a seeping sort of mild depression and fatigue
  • and feeling edgy from lack of physical contact like hugs.

Mental health and living alone in lockdown

If you are only living alone as you are separated from family for work reasons, or you are only feeling a bit lost at sea?

Then it might just be a case of practical wellbeing tools like:

  • sticking to a daily structure
  • scheduled check ins with loved ones
  • a daily gratitude practise
  • setting and achieving small goals daily towards a larger personal project, to keep you feeling purposeful
  • taking time to help others
  • healthy living like keeping up exercise, good eating, and meditation.
But if there has been a longstanding pattern of independency and aloneness in your life that endless lockdowns are really putting in your face? You need to take bigger steps.

1. Get honest about your loneliness.

Loneliness can come with a shadow called shame. Even reading this article you might be thinking, nah, this isn’t really me, I’m not that lonely. It doesn’t make you a ‘loser’ to feel lonely. And until you get honest with yourself on the size of the problem, you can’t really solve it.

Admitting you are lonely to others is the next step. Others might be so use to you being independent they assumed you wanted a lot of space, or were in touch with many other people. And sometimes just saying it out loud to someone else we trust can be a great relief.

2. Avoid rash decisions.

Deciding to go live with someone you met on an internet dating site and only talked to a few times over Zoom, all in the name of avoiding another lockdown alone? Giving up your beloved apartment to live in a commune? Or rushing out and getting a puppy when you know nothing about animals? Maybe not.

3. Consider the ways you are connected to others.

When we are physically alone it can be easy to forget that connection isn't just about being physically around people. We can just as easily feel lonely in a crowd as with others. Think of all the people you have shared things with over the last year.

Even realising that our very feelings of loneliness are shared can be a comfort. Right now, all around the world, other people are alone in lockdown and feeling just like we do. We aren't unique. There are people out there who understand perfectly.

4. Don’t blame being alone on being single.

This is an easy trap to fall into, but it immobilises us. We become so convinced we’ll never stop feeling lonely unless we meet a partner we close down our mind to things that could help or other options.

Remember that many people in couples feel very alone, too. Or those who live with a big family. Loneliness is nothing to do with being one person, and everything to do with being a disconnected person.

Working on the relationships you already have can be a faster route to alleviating feeling alone than obsessively seeking Mr. or Mrs. Perfect.

5. Take time daily to do one thing you couldn't if you weren't living alone.

Dance around in your underwear playing air guitar. Drink milk from the carton. Eat with your fingers. Sleep in a horizontal way that takes up the entire bed. Whatever it is, revel in the fact that you live alone as much as you can, to remind yourself that for every negative, there is a positive.

6. Admit you might have things to learn about relating.

Always in short, messy relationships that bring you back to single? Or never find anyone you can like? Do you even burn through friendships at an alarming rate?

Chronic aloneness can happen because somewhere along the line we developed limiting beliefs, trust issues, or incorrect ideas about relating, such as believing we have to please others or be what we aren't to deserve attention. We need to look at what blocks us, and learn what healthy relating even is.

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