Being single and living alone has its challenges even under normal circumstances. But it is particularly difficult during the Covid pandemic with the necessity to socially distance and shelter in place. For single people, these continuing restrictions disrupt regular human interactions that we all take for granted: being with family and friends, dating and intimacy.
Before the pandemic, singles often said that they were content with the solitude and independence their lifestyle affords. For them it was a choice to live alone and socialize when and how they desired. But now with greater social isolation, it’s understandable some singles feel lonely, sad and even rebellious with the new constraints. Some may feel cheated of the time they could have spent dating and searching for a long-term partner. Others who may have enjoyed being single and unattached, now may wish to have a live-in partner for the support and comfort during this time of uncertainty.
Still, the new reality is that single adults (like the rest of us) should follow CDC safety guidelines. That means masking, social distancing, washing hands, getting tested for Covid, etc. These present a roadblock for anyone who wants to socialize and to start and maintain relationships. It is difficult, but many singles have found safe ways to connect and to bolster their emotional health in the process. Here are some tips and suggestions:
- First and foremost, take care of yourself. Establish a daily routine of regular sleep (not too much or too little), regular healthful meals and regular exercise.
- Spend time outside in natural settings. Getting out of the house can relieve feelings of isolation.
- Reach out to family members and friends who are also single. Share your feelings and concerns with someone who understands what you’re going through.
- Schedule regular weekly phone or video calls with friends and family (especially elderly relatives). It’s a great way to stay connected and stave off feelings of isolation.
- Participate in group video chats. Organize regular Zoom sessions for dinner or games with friends and family. Join a community on Facebook or Meetup that shares your interests and meets virtually. Public libraries often sponsor online book discussions during the pandemic. You can also partake in virtual exercise classes.
- Even if you’ve given up on online dating apps, take a second look. Covid restrictions have slowed down the dating process. Longer-term webcam interaction encourages more authentic communication and provides an opportunity to better get to know someone.
- What about intimacy? Health experts caution against having sex with a partner outside your household. For detailed advice on what is and what is not safe, see these guidelines provided by the New York City Health Department.
It’s true that the pandemic can increase feelings of loneliness for those who live by themselves. But the flip side is that solitude is a chance for self-exploration, personal growth and space to discover what is most important in your life.