The quarantine is hard on everyone. But if you’re in quarantine alone, it can feel especially isolating. Single people might be feeling more lonely or depressed than ever, or frustrated by the fact that it could be months before they get to experience human touch again.
If you’re in quarantine solo, you might be envious of all those families having fun at home together or those couples putting up photos of themselves sharing a bottle of wine while cuddling up on the couch. These are all perfectly normal emotions, but they’re also ones you can beat. To help you out, we spoke to relationship expert Acamea Deadwiler, the author of Single That: Dispelling the Top 10 Myths of the Single Woman, on how to make the most of being single while in quarantine alone.
Deadwiler says that it’s crucial to “find something to do,” especially if you’re in the unfortunate position of having lost your job. Don’t go into “post-breakup” mode for too long, where you give yourself permission to mope around the house or watch Netflix or drink all day. We’re in uncharted territory, which means this is a perfect opportunity to change your habits or try something new.
“If you have a business idea, I would say this is the time to focus on that,” Deadwiler said. “Even if you don’t know where to start, just learn about it and do research. Make a schedule for your days, because oftentimes the boredom and the loneliness really comes from not having anything else to do.”
In many ways, the quarantine has given people more opportunities to socially connect than ever before. You can go on social media and commiserate with other people who are single and in quarantine alone. You can FaceTime with friends and family. You can attend an online yoga class or a virtual singles event. You can have a Netflix party, or connect with a therapist via an app on your phone. The options are endless and they’re all just a click away.
3.Try dating apps.
Your dating life doesn’t have to end even though you’re in quarantine alone. Many dating apps have reported a surge in usage in quarantined communities, and some are even offering free online tools explicitly for those looking for love while staying home alone.
And more important than the quantity is the quality of users. “This situation might actually weed out the people who aren’t serious,” Deadwiler said. “If you’re willing to actually sit and converse with someone for a few weeks, that’s an indicator that you’re looking for a real connection instead of just trying to hook up.”
4.See new opportunities for romance.
It might sound strange, but the quarantine has actually opened up some new romantic possibilities. Maybe you find yourself falling into an online romance in which you chat and cook and really get to know someone before getting physical with them. Maybe you reconnect with an ex who was good for you but the timing just wasn’t right. Who knows? One day you could be telling your children that the coronavirus pandemic was what made you realize Betty was the one that got away. Anything could happen!
5.Manage your jealousy.
“It’s natural to feel envious and to wish you had someone to spend this time with,” Deadwiler said. But every time you feel a wave of jealousy over people who aren’t alone right now, consider the fact that even though they have something that you don’t have, you undoubtedly have things they don’t as well. Maybe they have a family but are struggling more financially than you. Or maybe they have a spouse but live in a much smaller space. As experts can tell you, being a couple in quarantine together comes with its own set of challenges.
6.Don’t text a toxic ex.
It’s a scary time, and “people make bad decisions out of fear or anxiety.” So Deadwiler recommends against reaching out to an ex that you’ve already decided was bad for you, or was harmful or abusive in any way.
According to the Yale Happiness Course, taking time out of your day to appreciate what you have in life boosts your mood and lowers your stress levels. So add a a daily gratitude exercise to your to-do list. “This is really the time to focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have,” Deadwiler said.
The quarantine is a unique opportunity to hit the pause button and think about what you really want in your life and what’s missing from it. Maybe you thought you were loving the single life and now you’re realizing you really do want to settle down after all. The quarantine won’t last forever, and when it’s over, you might come out of it with “a renewed sense of the benefit and the fortune of someone to share your life with,” Deadwiler says.
At the same time, recognize that you might just be stressed out and craving comfort, and that you’ll love being single again once things normalize and you can hit the town.
9.But don’t obsess.
It’s more important than ever to be mindful of your thoughts and not let yourself go into a spiral of negative thinking. Panicking about the pandemic or getting angry about not having a partner isn’t going to do anything good for you. Focus on the positive and “think about the upsides of being alone,” Deadwiler says.
10.Know that you’re not really alone.
The coronavirus has hit everyone hard in different ways. We’ve all lost our routines, some have lost jobs, and some have even lost friends or family members. As Governor Andrew Cuomo keeps reminding everyone, we may be physically apart, but we’re all in this together. Remind yourself of that as often as you can.
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