Loneliness and Quarantine

It’s day *what feels like* 598762 of quarantine and I haven’t talked to a single, other adult in eons. It’s time. Desperation has set in. If I stare at my phone for one more minute and don’t talk to another person I might as well just adopt that cute puppy instead…

Swipe right. Swipe left. Swipe left. Swipe right. Swipe right. Swipe right. Swipe right. SWIPE RIGHT…

I have to confess… I have not personally experienced this period of history as a single person. I can only imagine and deeply empathize with how incredibly isolating, discouraging and lonely it must be to enter into the dating landscape these days just to find there may be plenty of fish in the sea but barriers of social distancing make dating seem impossible.  CARE’s clinician, Charlotte Johnson, actually just wrote an excellent article on Dating during Distancing (check it out here).

I have, however, experienced this quarantine and loneliness as a human. And wow…this is not fun.  As humans we naturally crave (and need!) connection and intimacy with other people. Yet, our government and other major health agencies are telling us we need to stay home for our health and safety.

Abraham Maslow, an American Psychologist, theorized that humans are driven by our basic needs. He created the well-known Hierarchy of Needs (for more info see this Psychology Today article). First, we must meet our physiological needs, food, water, air, etc.  Next, we can be concerned with safety. Is my house safe from burglars? Will I still have a stable job? Will I get sick?

Only once those are addressed, Maslow believed, can we graduate to meeting our need for love and belonging. Our need to feel connected and understood by another person. With our brain space taken up with worries about safety and physiological needs, it is no wonder that our energy reserves are depleted before we connect with others, go on a date, or simply talk with a friend!

So what’s a lonely person left to do?  I know it’s not easy. Nothing about this time is easy. But, sometimes the first step is simply acknowledging that this period of time is different, weird and hard.

Making space for those feelings and not trying to push away our struggle, disappointment, anger,  and sadness also makes space for us to recognize our strength, power and worthiness. It allows it to be okay that nothing is okay. It does not eliminate the painful feelings or stop them from coming up. Rather, it enables you to have the energy and motivation to try something new, get outside your comfort zone and reach out to that loved one, friend, or acquaintance. And maybe, just maybe… You can start to feel a little less alone.

If you’re looking for some creative ideas on what to do, I’ve compiled a list of fun activities below that can be done from a safe distance. I hope you enjoy them 🙂

  • Facetime a friend and cook a meal! Each of you will buy the ingredients for the same recipe and chat while making your snack or meal from your own home.
  • Hold a family or friends talent show via video chat. Each person must perform something, even if it is just a knock-knock joke.
  • Recreate your favorite cooking show in your kitchen! Bonus points if you let a family member or roommate choose the “secret ingredient” or cooking challenge for you.
  • Organize a car parade for a friend or family member celebrating a birthday.
  • Day dream with a friend about a Post-COVID Bucket list. What restaurant will you go to first? What concert? Get creative!

Written by : Maggie Schiffman

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