“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” – Bell Hooks on isolation and connecting with the self
‘Isolation’ is a word currently on our lips on a daily basis. Although isolation is tricky, it can be re-purposed as an opportunity to grow, connect with others and to practice mental space and mindfulness. However, it is a circumstance in which staying resilient is a little trickier if you are isolated on your own.
Even in these times of advanced technology, where human connection is only a phone call, text message or video conference away, nothing can really replace real life, face to face, tactile human connection. Solo isolation, even for those who appreciate their own company, can easily become mentally challenging. This being the case, it is vital to your personal resilience that you practice self-care on a daily basis. Here are a few ideas on how to look after your mind and soul during your imposed solo down-time…
1. Be Honest with Yourself
Focus on yourself. Check in on a daily basis. it is really easy do distract yourself with daily tasks and activities, and to avoid or forget to focus consciously on how you are feeling. Take a moment to breathe and look inwards. How are you doing today? If you are feeling off, what is it that is best for you to do about it? For me, for example, I know that if I’m feeling anxious or frustrated, going out for a run is the best medicine. I know that when I am sad I like to cook. What are your healing activities?
If you ascertain that you need to speak to someone, do just that. Reach out. In times such as this it is often surprising how many people will take your call and lift you up by simply being there.
2. Reach Out Regularly
Even if you do not think that you are feeling particularly in need, make sure that you connect on a regular basis. Human being feed off connection and community. The small interactions that we take part in every day when living under normal circumstances bring richness and connectedness to our lives without us even knowing it.
Pick up the phone or even just send a little message. Make sure you are reaching out and continuing to fill your life with those, everyday connections.
3. Structure Your Time
Have a plan. Time devoid of any structure at all can make life seem a little meaningless. Give your time meaning by planning your days. I find that a ‘To-Do’ list written with no particular timings in mind is an ideal way to plan my time. This means that, while my day contains productivity, it is not regimented, which allows flexibility around task completion.
4. Try Not to Be Lazy, But Don’t Pressure Yourself
Get stuff done. Make sure your days have triumphs within them. Although it is important to strive to work through your ‘To-Do’ List, it also does not do to beat yourself up if you get to the end of the day having not completed everything you wanted to complete. Negativity and frustration is something that we can work to actively discourage. Don’t put pressure on yourself to complete a schedule that nobody asked you to stick to but you! Some days you will be super productive, sometimes less so… and that’s OK. It is also normal. Sit with it, it’s all good!
5. Work On You
When do we usually have ample time to look inward and get better acquainted with ourselves? In this time of quarantines and lockdowns, take advantage of the slowing of time and take it for yourself. Sit without phone, TV or tablet and just have a good old think; a classic daydream. Get in touch with yourself, notice your feelings and begin to sort through the admin in your brain. This imposed solitude may seem hard, but, in many ways, it can be harnessed as a gift.
By Chris Thomson
Self-love and self-care, as you might imagine, walk side by side, hand in hand. If you’d like some more ideas on how to care for the self, to look inward and nurture your inner being, take a look at this article from our archive… 7 Daily Practices for Self-Love
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