The pandemic has been difficult. Being single and an introvert, I am used to spending time alone and doing things by myself; however, I had built in times with people. I would go to work, visit friends, go shopping and go to church. Since March most of that has been severely limited or removed altogether. When I express the difficulty of being alone to others, I don’t get a lot of sympathy. They are working, married or have kids, so they have the opportunity to interact with other people regularly.
A few months into the stay-at-home orders, I was challenged to ask people how they were doing and listen to the answer. As I asked the question, a few people were very honest about their struggles, which helped me know I was not the only one. In most cases, people don’t know how to answer the question. Is the question a nice way to start a conversation, or do they really want to know how I am doing? I don’t want to be a burden to anyone, nor do I want others to think I am not okay.
If I am completely honest, the answer to the question “How am I doing?” is I am struggling with the isolation and loneliness of being by myself all the time. It has been important that I answer this question honestly to myself and my friends. I realized I could not resolve the problem if I don’t admit there is one.
Changes I Made
I have made changes, so I am not alone all the time. During the summer, I posted an invitation to meet at a local park on a local singles Facebook group. That was probably the scariest thing and best things I have done. I did not know if anyone would be interested or who would show up. This has turned into a once-a-month activity. It turns out I was not the only one struggling. We typically have about 10 to 20 people show up for the event.
I am going to a church down the street because they are meeting in person. I make sure to leave the house at least once a day, even if it is only a Starbucks trip. I get together with friends a couple of times a month and coffee with my sister on Saturday mornings.
The isolation is hard. If you are struggling with isolation, see what changes you can make to change your mood. When you get up open all the curtains in your house, let the light in, it makes a difference. Go for a walk or if the weather permits go to the park. Fresh air helps the mood. If you can’t find relief ask for help, call a friend, a pastor, or a counsellor. Life is meant to be enjoyed, find different ways to take advantage of what God has provided.
Check on Your Friends
If you are married, check in on your single friends, make sure they are doing okay. Invite them for a walk or even just a conversation, remind them you care. If someone tells you they are struggling with being alone, don’t tell them how much you wish you had time alone. They aren’t lucky; they are lonely and need someone to at least try to understand how they are feeling.