Staying home over the last eight weeks has meant time for reflection, self-care and above all, a new and different way of living.
As someone who lives alone, the fear of being here by myself without the daily interaction and physical presence of people was somewhat alarming, however, two months in, the lessons far outweighed the concerns.
I am also acutely aware of how lucky I am to be living a life of solitude and I very much take my hat off to anyone who is currently raising children in this climate.
Selfishly, it has meant that I am on my own timetable and only have to amuse, wash, house and feed myself — something that I always took for granted.
Just last week, I expressed that even though I want the global coronavirus pandemic to end, I was extremely anxious for what the new world meant. While it came from a place of fear of the unknown, a part of me didn’t want this life to end.
I must also preface that I was lucky enough to enter into a relationship very early on in the piece, and because of the rule where a significant other can visit your home on the basis of mental health, I have had at least two-three days a week where I am not fully alone.
That, and with my boyfriend’s preference for living a “balanced” life (meaning not spending every single day and night together) — it has meant that I have also been able to relish in the solitude.
I have learned so much about myself when it comes to living alone during these times, and it’s not just my TV binge-viewing habits.
☆ It’s OK to not want to go outside
This has been a very important part of my iso-journey. There have been a few weeks where I simply didn’t leave my house from Monday to Saturday — and in the vein of self-care, this can sometimes be important.
☆ Your house is your sanctuary
While my office has now become my home, I have made sure to step away into another room at the end of the workday for at least a few minutes.
I’ve learned to understand that my house is my sanctuary. My place of peace and solitude. Where I feel safe and at my happiest.
☆ It’s OK to have fear of missing out even though there’s nothing to miss out on
FOMO looks a little different during isolation — mainly because I’m missing out on daily human interaction — and I’ve come to understand that this is completely normal.
Of course, you have a fear of missing out. Because actually, in some respects you are missing out and it’s a valid feeling.
☆ Panic and worry will come, just flow through it
Another important lesson learned. There have been so many days when waves and anxiety would come crashing down on me. My body would shake, I’d feel all alone and obsessive-compulsive thoughts would weigh me down.
As someone who thrives with distraction, I have had to learn to flow through it, whether it be through meditation, breathing and even going back on a low dose of anti-anxiety medication.
☆ You have more support than you had ever realised
During isolation, I received hundreds of messages from friends and family all supporting me and one another and what I came to realise was that I am never alone.
On one particular occasion, a beautiful friend of mine sent me a gorgeous meme of otters holding hands and said she thought this would make me smile.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, she had just been told she had lost her job but still took a few minutes out of her day to check up on me. This is true kindness and will never be forgotten.
☆ It’s all about balance.
Ah, balance. Something which we never ever had before until now.
Before isolation, I was going to two-three events and screenings a week, going to brunch, going out for drinks and spending all of my money.
During isolation, I have been able to take back control and pick-and-choose what I spend my time and energy on. This is something I have learned that I will be taking with me once this ends.
☆ Enjoy the alone time — it is incredible for the soul
Ah, the single most important lesson.
Many people find it hard to be alone with their own thoughts. It’s often the time we think the most deeply. We over-analyse everything and we re-evaluate life.
But, without this alone time, we wouldn’t have growth. And growth is so important.
The current health crisis is evolving rapidly. If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.