As our world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are self-isolating and not getting the same amount of social time they’re used to. It’s tough to want to hang out with your friends and not be able to—after all, there’s no replacement for face-to-face interaction. But there are still ways to lessen the sadness and frustration that comes with not seeing your friends.
Stay connected—especially through video.
It’s common to default to texting your friends when you aren’t with them. But when you go weeks without seeing them, texting probably won’t feel like enough. Pick up the phone and give them a call so you can hear their voice instead of just reading a screen. Better yet, video chat! It’s not the same as getting together in person, but it’s close enough to make you feel like you really spent time together.
Put some extra thought into your plans.
When all of your hangouts are virtual, it’s easy to fall into “catching up” for an hour. There’s nothing wrong with just chatting, but if that gets stale, try thinking of something to do together. Video chat while you each bake your favorite dessert. Read the same book and then hop on a video call to discuss. Want to watch Netflix? Netflix Party is a cool way to stay in sync with friends as you all watch from your own homes.
Reach out to people you don’t talk to often.
You may miss your closest friends the most, but you’re likely used to socializing with more than just those people. This is especially true if you’re a very extraverted or outgoing person. Reconnecting with a friend from when you were younger is a great way to fill up your social meter. Usually only see your cousins on holidays but always have a blast with them? Schedule a virtual cousin night! Don’t forget about those classmates who you love chatting with in school but don’t hang out with on weekends—you’re probably missing them a bit too!
Make your alone time exciting!
Most of us are guilty of spending too much of our alone time mindlessly watching Netflix or scrolling through social media (or both at the same time). Right now, it’s more important than ever before to make sure your solo activities are engaging. What are some things you love to do that are possible to do alone? Get some new books, start a puzzle, print out some coloring pages, or find those craft supplies from years ago. It’s a great time to start learning something new, too—use Duolingo to practice a new language, or take an online class in something that interests you.
Feel your feelings.
Acknowledge that this is hard. It’s okay to be sad, angry, lonely, or whatever else you’re feeling right now. But don’t lose sight of the fact that this will pass. Our communities will make it to the other side. As tough as this is… It’s not forever.
Loneliness can also be related to depression and other mental health conditions. Take one of our mental health tests to give yourself a quick mental health checkup!