I woke up on March 1st with a terrible sore throat and that dreadful feeling that you’d spend the rest of the week in bed with a cold. I turned on my usual Today Show while still snuggled up with my dog under my cozy down comforter. The first headline was “Coronavirus In America” and as Savannah and Hoda began discussing this novel virus that was making its way into America, I couldn’t help but think, what the fuck is happening.
I’m an avid documentary viewer and the last one I binged was “Pandemic” ironically. I oddly felt like I knew too much of what could happen already from the latest news. With this terrible cold beginning, it wasn’t great timing. Especially since I had several symptoms. I knew I didn’t have it though. It was too early in the breakout for it to be community spread probably and I had no reason to believe it was. And I still don’t. I also ended up having a terrible runny and stuffy nose which is NOT a symptom.
But when I woke up on March 1st, I basically decided I was staying home. I got groceries delivered and stocked up on essentials (way before the toilet paper craze was even a thing, thankfully). I was basically home and mostly in bed for about 10 days. To celebrate feeling better and for gorgeous weather, I headed to lunch on the 14th with a friend and enjoyed margaritas al fresco. Little did I know, that would be the last of that for a while. In mid-March, Atlanta began social distancing, closed all schools and it all really began.
It’s now May 3rd….
It’s now May 3rd as I write this and although Georgia has opened up slightly, Atlanta really hasn’t. Most restaurants are only doing take-out still, most salons are closed and it’s really no different. So I’ve basically been in my house since March 1st except for that one glorious lunch with a friend.
As an introvert, this has actually been not as miserable as I thought it would be. Being alone, but not lonely, isn’t easy to accomplish though. It takes work. But having a more introverted personality type makes this situation a little more manageable than what my extroverted friends are experiencing. Being alone has a few benefits and challenges regardless of being an introvert or not.
But what happens when this is all over?
I have days or hours where I just feel lonely and am not sure when this is all going to end. Then there are the moments I worry that I’ve gotten TOO used to this that when it’s really all over, I’m going to become a recluse. And then my fears of dying alone in my 1 bedroom condo may become a reality. I’m also wondering how the hell am I supposed to date and meet someone if I literally can not be within 6 ft of people. These are definitely introverted single people’s fears I think. Whereas my extroverted friends are anxiously awaiting jumping out of their apartments and hugging everyone.
How To Be Alone
Being this isolated and alone is definitely a challenge though regardless if you’re an introvert or extrovert. There are a few things I’ve been doing to help me feel better about being alone that keeps loneliness at bay. From lots of texts with friends, FaceTime calls and regular old school phone calls, those all help. Staying “social” is helpful. But also having some personal hobbies or activities to do is key. I’ve been working out, coloring in my coloring book and forcing myself to cook more new recipes. They’re like mini projects that keep me focused on something. From start to finish, you feel more accomplished regardless of how big or little it is.
But there’s the upside of being alone.
When you’re alone you can really get into deep thinking and that can help to spark your creativity. It can help you work through ideas and struggles you may have had previously. Being alone is also great for self-reflection too. Now’s a time to maybe start journaling and reflecting on your days. I started writing in my Five Minute Journal again. It’s just a simple one-page entry of things you’re grateful for, what could make the day great and so on. I always used to say I had my best ideas while in the shower. Well, this is one fucking long ass shower, people.
Make no mistake, being alone isn’t easy.
But being alone doesn’t have to be lonely. And that’s the big picture. Remind yourself of the things that make you feel connected whether to a hobby or to people even if it’s from afar.
How are you managing this time alone in isolation?