The global pandemic that smashed our society last year brought an all-time high case of loneliness. “Addressing mental health and substance use problems in young adults, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, is an imperative,” says Viviana Horigian from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. Her statement is in response to her new study investigating the psychological impact of the coronavirus pandemic on young adults. The study found an alarming increase in loneliness since the arrival of COVID-19.”
Loneliness can lead to many destructive patterns such as alcoholism, drug addictions, and self-harm. Not having a partner to lean on for that constant support and love might also contribute to these behaviors. Instead of diving into these habits, it’s vital to sit back, examine one’s self and figure out what you need to thrive during such a lonely isolated period. Here are a few helpful routines to get yourself out of the ditch of loneliness and find joy in being single.
Meditation is the easiest, cheapest and most effective way of connecting with yourself. For beginners I would suggest using the method of guided meditation. Guided meditation simply means that a “guide,” which can be a person’s voice or the sounds of nature, propel you into the meditation realm. These guided meditations can be found on YouTube, apps on your phone or a store-bought DVD. The easiest guided meditation in my opinion can be found through apps on your phone that are usually free and require only a simple download. Guided meditation helps your anxious thoughts quiet down and allows you to melt into an assisted trip down a soothing path in your mind.
Unguided meditation is also a great way to clear your head space and reset your thoughts. You don’t use a person’s voice or a soothing sound to lead you into unguided meditation, rather you just sit in pure silence. For unguided meditation start out small and simply do five minutes a day. From that stage, continue to add time until you find that sweet spot that suits you best.
Journaling is an excellent venue to expel all of those overbearing, destructive, disheartening emotions that are eating away at you. “Research even shows that expressive writing can help individuals develop more structured, adaptive, and integrated schemes about themselves, others, and the world” (Bailey). One could either buy a physical journal or use word documents on their computer. Some people prefer waking up and journaling right away as the bundle of thoughts are fresh in their mind, while others prefer nighttime when they can decompress and unwind.
Even though the pandemic has put a hold on physical touch, you can still facetime, zoom or call your friends and family. Having a solid support system is important in maintaining a healthy, balanced mental state. According to the Mental Health Foundation, “Friendship can play a key role in helping someone live with or recover from a mental health problem and overcome the isolation that often comes with it.”
Learn something new
A great way to use your alone time wisely would be to attain a new skill or try something new. Look up some baking recipes and make a mess in your kitchen. Learn a new language on Duolingo, which is free and can be downloaded on your cell phone. Pick up some knitting needles, watch a few instructional YouTube videos and make some scarves for family and friends. Learning a new skill is a proven mood booster and mind enhancer. “It improves the quality of your life and also deepens the relationships you have. It can boost your self-esteem and give you a sense of purpose. It activates the release of the ‘feel-good’ chemical dopamine in the brain and helps you cope with the stress and strain of everyday life while increasing your energy levels and immunity” (Rodericks).
Alright fellow singles, it is time to take these healthy rituals and incorporate them into your daily routine. Not only will you thrive during this lonely pandemic, but your mental health will skyrocket and you will adapt to a happy life.
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