Everyone struggles with social distancing, quarantine and lockdown tiers. Most people across Britain are living with others -either family, partner or friends- but if you live alone, how do you stay sane? People rely on human interaction for a variety of things; mental wellbeing, connection, interpersonal relationships, problem solving, relaxation, entertainment. Those lucky enough to have support bubbles available can still have real conversations and socialise. Anyone living away from their hometown is cut off from their family and friends.
How affected we are by the lack of communication depends on our attachment style (Bowlby, 1958) and there are 4 types:
- secure: comfortable seeking reassurance from caregivers.
- anxious-preoccupied: often afraid of or incapable of being alone.
- dismissive-avoidant: described as lacking the desire to form/maintain social bonds
- avoidant: showing no preference between a caregiver and a complete stranger.
If a person does not have a secure attachment style then relating to and coping with other people can be more complicated than with securely attached people.
Although anxious-preoccupied would not deal with living alone well, it would suit the dismissive-avoidant to their own demise.
Humans are social creatures who need to maintain relationships with people in the community, creating strong bonds that increases our chance of survival.
Without anyone looking over your shoulder, it’s easy to seep into the live of sloth, slob or serial sleeper. You’ve got to put measures into place to stop your inner procrastinator from showing their true colours.
Keep your alarms set.
Create an exercise regime.
Dress ready for work.
Wake up early on weekdays.
Keep on top of cleaning.
Talk to neighbours.
It’s easy to slip into depressive episodes when the only living creature you spend time with is a skulking housecat, the only time you leave the house is for bare essentials to keep you alive and the only hobbies you have left are overeating in front of the TV. This is equally as tough as maintaining a routine and many of them overlap.
Speaking to your GP.
Keep up with your connections.
If you work from home, set up a dedicated work space. This could be a spare room turned office, the breakfast bar in the kitchen or a corner of your living room. If the weather is nice, the patio would even suffice. Ensure there are no distractions (TV, windows, or people) to keep your mind work-focused. Set reminders for the beginning of work, lunch time and the end of day to stop yourself over working through your personal time.
There are so many ways to stay in touch; Alexa drop ins, whatsapp video, facetime, zoom, skype… the virtual world has grown to manage the new capacity. It’s not the same, or anywhere as satisfying as the physical human presence, but it helps. There are online craft groups, community meets and peer support to tide us over. It’s difficult meeting new people under normal circumstances