Today’s post is a more personal one. The impetus behind it is that over the past few weeks I’ve had so many of you DM me asking for advice handling the loneliness that comes with being quarantined alone. Single and quarantined alone. In a relationship and quarantined alone. Just out of a breakup and quarantined alone. (UGH – hugs!!!) MARRIED to someone in the healthcare space and… quarantined alone.
I will be honest: I don’t always feel equipped to answer that question and I don’t know that I always handle it well but… I’m trying my best? I also want to preface this post by saying (obviously!) I am a blogger and not a mental health professional. I’m not giving medical advice (some professional resources are linked at the bottom of the post), I’m just sharing my experiences here in hopes of being helpful. I also recognize that EVERYONE is struggling (to all the parents who are now homeschooling – my heart goes out to you!!!) but I write what I know, and I am a person living alone during quarantine. Today’s Day 30 for me and it’s been… a lot!
The past month has been extremely hard. I’ve had a great deal of anxiety, I’ve been incredibly lonely, and right as this all went down things went awry with the person I was dating. (I’m telling you this as context, I can’t really talk about it out of respect to him and we didn’t date very long so I feel dumb being upset about it, but it still sucks!!!).
If you’re quarantined alone I’d love to hear how you’re coping! Leave me a comment!
PS – I would also recommend checking out this post from last week with nine ideas for things you can do at home…alone!
How to Maintain Your Mental Health During Quarantine.
Get Outside (Responsibly).
I take a walk every day to get a little bit of sun. But I am responsible about it; I wear a mask and I don’t go where the people are. (I love walking over the Williamsburg Bridge and that can be pretty quiet mid-day but on weekends it’s a hard no, same goes for Domino Park). Sometimes I just zig zag through quiet streets wandering aimlessly with a podcast (or audiobook, highly recommend Jessica Simpson’s book for this!)
Set boundaries with work.
I’m really lucky in that I don’t have a boss but I still have a lot of people holding me accountable; be it my blog readers or instagram followers… or my brand partners. I think that for someone with a more traditional job, this article from the WSJ would be really helpful in terms of setting boundaries with your employer.
Facetime… or don’t.
Communicating with friends and family is so important! I Facetime with moderation. I do find it’s the best alternative to real face to face contact. It was starting to add up and make me feel MORE lonely last week. I do think that it helps… that connectivity, even through screens. It can also add up! I talk to my parents almost every day and my sisters each a couple times a week… and then have Facetime sessions a few times a week with other friends. Digital happy hours are great, too!
Take a news break.
I have noticed a direct correlation between my mental health and how much news I’ve consumed. I try to balance staying informed and staying sane. So I watch the governor’s addresses and will put the news on here and there but I try to limit my overall media consumption as it can be… A LOT.
I am not here to sell sell sell (and also remember, not a doctor and everyone will have a different experience) but I wanted to include this as Equilibria has helped me SO much during this time. I take the 25mg soft gel every night before bedtime, and half a dropper of the extra strength drops whenever I feel stressed (all the time? JK – tops, twice a day). I wrote a blog post about Equilibria, and you can take 20% off with my code graceatwood.
Sometimes I just want to work from couch and not move from my blanket/laptop sitch but on the days I do exercise I feel so much better. Taking care of your physical health can really help your mental health! The connection between mind and body is really amazing. Yoga is great but to be honest it’s VERY hard for me to concentrate for a whole hour right now. So I’ve been really loving Melissa Wood Health’s workouts.
Find a creative outlet.
Getting creative has helped me immensely. It’s going to be different for everyone but it’s so important to find a creative outlet that makes you happy! Making my silly videos for instagram has been my latest creative side project and has helped me immensely. I laugh a lot making them, and I’m also learning a new skill set as I learn better ways to edit them, add sounds and music, etc!
Headspace has always been REALLY helpful to me. I wrote a post about my experience with Headspace and am so impressed that they’ve recently made the service free for New Yorkers, health care professionals, and many others! It’s one of my favorite and most used apps. I love the bedtime wind downs, too!
This sixteen second breathing trick is a godsend! It really does help to calm you down so so quickly.
This is definitely a more frivolous one (but whatever, this blog is frivolous) but for me, ending my day with a bath has been really beneficial. The days can stretch on and I’ll be in the same pajamas all day… but when I finish my work I hop in the tub for 20 minutes. Not only does this help to relax me in itself, it also acts as a separation between work time and relaxation. My current favorite is this mustard detox bath – it’s a little intense but in a WONDERFUL way – really makes you sweat!!!!
Mental Health Resources
As mentioned above, I am just sharing some of the things that have helped me. I am not a mental health professional so wanted to provide a few good mental health resources from actual PROFESSIONALS. I would love for you to share any recs in the comments if you feel comfortable!
Talkspace offers online therapy sessions. I have no relationship with this company but have heard from others that it’s incredibly helpful! They have over a million users so have to be doing something right. Recently, they launched a COVID-19 anxiety program.
The CDC’s guide to coping.
The CDC has a great resource for coping with stress and anxiety.
The SAHMSA (substance abuse and mental health service administration) has an online guide that may be helpful.
Crisis Text Line
The crisis text line is pretty cool. Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime, about any type of crisis. A counselor receives the text and responds. More info on their site.
photos (old!) by Trent Bailey, taken at The 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge.
Excellent post! Thank you for your attention to mental health. So very important. Be well, thinking of you.
Thank you Susan!
Hi Grace, Thanks for including my breathing tip! Just wanted to say I can relate, going through the exact same context as you with the man I was/(still am?) dating – you shouldn’t feel “dumb” for being upset about, it’s valid to feel sad/upset if you cared for him even if it wasn’t for a long time!
Sending you a hug! xx
Grace – what a vulnerable yet much needed post!! I think that it takes strength to share about about anything personal so just wanted to applaud you for that. Virtual hugs to everyone quarantining alone because it’s not easy!
One thing that’s been helping me mental health wise is doing different grounding practices, namely the 5-4-3-2-1 practice (I would google it but the gist is 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel [physically], 3 things you hear, 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you taste). It automatically calms me down.
Also, something to reflect over each day. What works for me is writing down one thing I’m grateful for, but if that’s not your thing…highs/lows, what surprised you etc. Just something to take stock of how your day went.
I love these suggestions – thank you!
In the same boat over here- was dating someone for a couple months and it went awry at the start of quarantine. Juggling heartbreak and solo quarantine is no joke. I don’t think there’s been a single day I haven’t cried. So appreciate your vulnerability in sharing- it makes me feel less alone. We will get through this. 🙂
For me the thing that has helped the most is sitting in stillness and quiet. It’s the last thing I want to do, truthfully. But I’ve started what I call the boredom project–trying to challenge myself to just sit on my couch and drink my coffee while watching the tree out my courtyard and listening to the birds chirp. I’ll inevitably want to distract myself, but I try to do this with my phone and computer out of reach and at some point I get to a point where the staring out my window becomes really pleasant. I’ve noticed the days I feel the crappiest are the days I’m way too hyper connected, online. So I’m trying to give space for boredom, and be more intentional with my technology usage.
Anyway! Hugs to you, Grace, and to everyone!
Ugh I’m sorry, it’s so shitty!!!! And weird, because like there is no closure and you can’t see someone and talk to them.
I love the idea of sitting in quiet. Sending you a huge hug! x
Hi! I’m a long time reader and I just wanted to say thank you for being so genuine. You are giving so much love to so many people out in the world.
Thank you so much Paulina <3
Don’t forget the NYS emotional support hotline. I know people who have called. Anonymous, no insurance questions, focus on listening and coping strategies. 844-863-9314. Seven days, 8am-10pm
Hi from Queens! This post resonated so much with me. Getting outside once a day has been extremely therapeutic, especially since all of the trees and flowers have come into bloom. I love listening to your podcast or Be There in Five, because it’s like friends talking to me as I walk. I find though that I have to go so early in the morning…otherwise it just gets too crowded with people. At the very beginning of this, I experienced a lots of anxiety…for my health, my family’s health, and my friends’ health. Starting a journal really helped me to process some of my feelings and get the worries out of my head. Thank you for your recent music videos on Instagram!! The #firstpicturetogether challenge got me a little down this week, so your lip syncing to Celine was an instant mood boost!
Hey! I am really happy the post resonated. AND Love Kate’s podcast too!!! Podcasts definitely help (Big fan of Girls Gotta Eat for the same reasons!!!) Also so glad you liked the videos. I was having a bit of anxiety about them earlier today and questioning whether I should be posting them!!!!
I have been feeling so up and down during quarantine. TBH I’m having the hardest time this week being on spring break (I’m a teacher) which aligns with how I am outside of a global pandemic, where I function much better with a regular schedule (and I struggle to be disciplined enough to create one for myself). I’ve been doing a lot of the same things as you – exercise, walks/runs, Facetime (and I generally hate the phone!), reading, going hard on my quarantine binge (Grey’s Anatomy!). I’ve also been doing puzzles since it’s a good solo activity, and I have a new bookcase coming to corral all the things I had to take home from my classroom, so when it arrives putting it together will be a project. I feel like I’m pretty aware of the days that are harder, but haven’t quite found a way to get past them beyond waking up the next day knowing that I’ll probably be feeling better after a good nights sleep. I started using CBD during quarantine as well, and it has definitely helped me sleep better at night. I think talking to friends who are also quarantined alone at home helps as well, since we’re all feeling fairly similar.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience!!! I feel lucky in that my work schedule hasn’t shifted THAT much… I’m also a creature of routine and really value a regular schedule as well. Talking to friends definitely helps. Hugs from Brooklyn.
Thanks for always being so honest with us, Grace! Stay well & stay healthy <3
Thanks, Rachel! And same to you!
Thank you for sharing! Also don’t feel like you can’t be upset about your break up just because you didn’t date for a long time – your feelings are valid! And it’s a hard time for everyone. I also have been feeling isolated and lonely, having a hard time reading and “escaping” but treating myself to a new thriller every week 🙂 Sending you hugs!
Thank you so much. The thrillers are definitely helping!!!!
Thank you for being honest! Also single and live alone and it’s not easy—especially since I already deal with mental health issues anyway. Long walks with my dog right now have been key to my sanity.
And yay for including Crisis Text Line—I just started volunteering with them because I wanted to be able to help in some way!
Aw that is amazing!!!!! Good for you for volunteering! (And yes to walks with your pup… wish I could walk Tyrion!) xo
I am in quarantine alone. Thank you for pointing me to Girls Night In. I have a niece that just turned 13 and I don’t see her as much as I used to. One of the recs was the San Diego Zoo live Cam. My niece and I are in contact daily now as we are obsessed with the Owl Cam! She has 8 eggs and counting? Thank you for all your of your tips, insights, and humor.
I’m so glad it was helpful!!!
Thank you for continuing to be authentic with your own highs and lows. It’s a battle! I have also found making time for being outside every day is really crucial. My husband and I are quarantined together (with our two dogs and a cat). While there are plenty of things that are great about our situation, it is A LOT of time together! I have so little going on in my day to day life, I even struggle with things to talk about with family and friends on the phone. On a positive, I’m taking excellent care of our dogs and love having them to take on walks. I’m super grateful we have a nice home with a great backyard and quality food.
thanks sharon!!! You are so right. I have a lot of guilt going outside but I wear a mask and only walk on the really quiet streets! Hang in there – hugs!
I hope you are well lovely x
Lisa | lisaautumn.com
Thank you so much for sharing this – I’m also alone in quarantine in Brooklyn and going through a breakup. Its nice to know we are not alone. Thanks for sharing your tips – I also love Melissa Wood Health workouts 🙂 I would also add its been super helpful for me to keep healthy food on hand and eat regular meals – skipping meals and going hungry always makes my emotions 10x heavier. Sending you all the vibes:)
I’m so sorry!!! Breakups are already the worst and being quarantined just makes it even harder. Totally with you on cooking!
I agree that getting outside is one of the best ways to maintain one’s mental health during quarantine. Granted, you may not want to shop for hours on end, but taking a walk around the block can make a huge difference. It relaxes the mind, especially during those days when working at home must be done.
It really makes a difference!