These Are Effective Ways To Curb Loneliness During Social Isolation

During social isolation, it’s normal to feel a little down. Anyone can be susceptible to becoming lonely when the number of human interactions they have on a daily basis has a sudden and rapid decline. Fortunately, there are many ways to fill the day with activities that can help combat negative feelings while staying home. Even small things, like singing along to your favorite song, can make a big difference in your mood. There are also plenty of technological advances that may help, such as the House Party app. Read on for more tips on how to beat the isolation blues.

Schedule Daily Talks With Loved Ones

schedule talks
Adam Nieścioruk/Unsplash
Adam Nieścioruk/Unsplash

It can be easy to forget to keep in touch with those close to you. Especially during a crisis, keeping in contact with those dearest is vital, even if it’s just through the phone. Hearing the voice of someone you love is one of the best cures for loneliness.

To ensure that you’re getting enough socializing, try scheduling a phone call with someone close each day. Make a list of people you haven’t talked to in a while or want to check up on, and reach out. They likely will appreciate the call just as much as you do.

Keep A Tight Routine

A person writes a checklist.
Glenn Carstens Peters/Unsplash
Glenn Carstens Peters/Unsplash

Particularly for those who are unable to work, keeping a routine can be of paramount importance while social isolating. That’s because it helps keep the day feeling normal and passes the time, which helps keep your mind off your state of isolation.

Make a checklist of things you want to get done or schedule out your time so it’s full of a variety of activities. Even if the list is full of simple tasks, crossing them off will keep you feeling proactive.

Transition Your Social Events To Online

Two girls video chat.
Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Speaking of routine, try to keep as many things that were on your schedule before social isolation on your docket. There are a plethora of video chat apps and websites that can enable you to transition your social events to a virtual setting.

For example, if you’re in a book club, see if members want to meet on the same day and time on an online platform. Or if you and your significant other typically have a weekly date night, get dressed up and order takeout. Keeping up your schedule can help ensure that you get the quality social time you crave.

Put A Limit On Your Media Consumption

An old man looks at his laptop with a concerned expression.
Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Amid a crisis, it can be tempting to keep the news on 24/7. Alternatively, some may want to avoid the news altogether, as it can be a downer. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that staying up to date on information and expert advice can help psychological functioning.

At the same time, overconsuming information can lead to stress and exacerbate feelings of loneliness. To find the right balance, try putting a limit on how much media you consume. Catch up on the news for a set amount of time and then focus your attention elsewhere.

Lose Yourself In The World Of Fiction

A woman reads a book in bed.
Stefano Guidi/Getty Images
Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

A great way to distract yourself from lonely feelings is to become lost in the world of fiction. Psychology Today reports that fictional characters can give us a sense of social interaction. Watching people on television or reading about them in a book allows us to connect with others, even if they are fictional.

Additionally, going into a fictional world can help us escape from the troubles of reality. It’s important to take a mental break from the crisis at hand so that we don’t become worn down and therefore more susceptible to negative thoughts and feelings, like loneliness.

Watch Netflix With Others Through “Netflix Party”

A person streams Netflix on their laptop and television.
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

One way to connect with others while social isolating is to watch movies and television shows together while in two separate locations. Netflix Party is a Google Chrome extension that synchronizes television streaming in multiple locations.

The extension also provides a chat column that appears to the right of the show or movie so you can message other viewers without missing a moment of the story. Once everyone has downloaded the extension, one person selects the title to be viewed and then sends the link to others to share the streaming experience.

Play Virtual Games With Friends

Two friends play on their cell phones.
Afif Kusuma/Unsplash
Afif Kusuma/Unsplash

Another way to interact with others while social isolating is to play virtual games together. There are a variety of online games that enable multiple users to play together while at separate locations.

Fans of board games can find a plethora of app versions of favorites like Settlers of Catan, Carcassone, or Monopoly. Words With Friends is a popular app that is essentially the game Scrabble. Houseparty is an app that enables you to video chat while playing games such as Heads Up and Quick Draw.

Get Snuggly

A woman drinks out of a mug while wrapped in a blanket.
Lina Verovaya/Unsplash
Lina Verovaya/Unsplash

It may seem silly, but staying warm may have a positive impact on feelings of loneliness. Psychology Today reports that the physical sensation of warmth may activate similar parts of the brain that are stimulated by attachment bonding.

Similar to how babies find comfort in being swaddled, wrapping up in a big, cozy blanket may help assuage feelings of isolation. Sip on some hot tea or take a bath to relax into a state of ease.

Create An Indoor Workout Routine

A woman does yoga in her living room.
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Exercising releases endorphins that can improve your mood. It also can offer you a self of accomplishment and give you a reason to be proud of yourself for doing something productive and healthy.

Even if you don’t have any exercise equipment, there are plenty of workout videos available online for free that can guide you through a routine using just your body weight. Some fitness gurus have even found creative ways to incorporate household items into the workout. Plus, having a virtual instructor talk to you may help provide some much-needed socialization.

Become Absorbed In Nature

A woman wearing headphones closes her eyes while sitting near the ocean.
Blaz Erzetic/Unsplash
Blaz Erzetic/Unsplash

Psychology Today reports that being in nature can create a sense of social connectedness. This may be because nature reminds us that we are all connected by being a part of something larger than ourselves.

If it is safe, go on a walk in an area that has trees or a large body of water. If you are not able to spend nonessential time outside, try listening to natural sounds like birds chirping or waves crashing on music streaming platforms.

Do Something Selfless

A homemade thank you card hangs on a wall.
Ian Forsyth/Getty Images
Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

When experiencing a negative emotion, it can be easy to become self-absorbed. Doing something kind for someone else can help us get out of our own heads and focus on others. The United Nations has set up an online volunteering system that you can join if you have the availability.

You can donate money or put together a care package if you have the means. Another idea is to make something thoughtful like a thank you card or sign to show your gratitude to those helping the greater good.

Trigger Your Nostalgia

A couple looks through a photo album.
WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images
WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images

Researchers have found that nostalgia can help us feel close to those we are reminiscing about. This can increase attachment security, which may help ward off those feelings of loneliness. Flip through old photographs or go through a box of mementos like trophies, vacation souvenirs, or items that have been passed down the family lineage.

Try to stay focused on positive memories and relive them in your mind. Doing so can help transport you back to better days and keep you focused on creating more joyful experiences in the future.

Find “Flow”

A woman paints art on leaves.
Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

You know the saying, “time flies when you’re having fun?” That’s because of something called “flow,” which is characterized by being so immersed in an activity that it’s all you’re focused on.

Artists often get into this state when they are consumed in a creative project, but it can happen while doing other activities too. The important thing is to do something you find enjoyable, such as putting together a puzzle or playing a challenging game of Sudoku.

Listen To A Podcast

A man puts on headphones.
Austin Distel/Unsplash
Austin Distel/Unsplash

Podcasts have become widely popular in the past decade, proving that the medium can hold its own even in the age of streaming television. Like reading, podcasts activate the imagination more than television does because you are envisioning what’s being said.

Listening to people speak on a podcast may help alleviate feelings of loneliness by giving you a voice to listen to and characters to live vicariously through. It can also help take your mind off of being socially isolated.

Sing Along To Music You Love

A woman sings while listening to music in her headphones.
Bruce Mars/Unsplash
Bruce Mars/Unsplash

Psychology Today reports that singing along to a song you love can form a sense of connection by evoking a shared emotion. Uplifting music can help change your mood while solemn music can make you feel as though someone understands what you’re going through.

Singing is also a form of expression that may help you get out some pent-up energy or emotions. Children and adults alike may enjoy doing a karaoke night or a talent show with other household members.

Try A Guided Meditation

A man meditates in the grass.
Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Studies have shown that meditation can have a number of benefits, and Psychology Today notes that guided meditation may help create a sense of social connectedness. Those who are not used to meditating may find that guided meditation helps direct their thoughts more easily towards a calm state.

If you’ve had more practice meditating, you may find it easier to leave your thoughts behind and sits with a clear headspace. Another option is to repeat an affirmative phrase or focus on something you want to manifest, like loving kindness.

Take An Online Course

A woman sits at a computer.
Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash
Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

Many universities– including Stanford, UC Berkeley, Harvard, and Penn State– are offering free online courses in a wide variety of subjects. These include areas such as archeology, history, communication, finance, writing, law, philosophy, and much more.

While social isolating, it can be easy to lose your sense of purpose and meaning. Joining a class provides you tasks that offer you a sense of accomplishment and build your knowledge, contributing to your sense of self-worth.

Write In A Journal

A woman writes in a spiral notebook.
Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As any therapist will tell you, you don’t have to be a writer to keep a journal. Journaling is simply putting your thoughts on paper. Doing so helps slow those thoughts down and gives you the opportunity to reflect on them and improve your self-awareness.

You may find that you feel less lonely after journaling about those feelings of loneliness. Sometimes simply getting it out brings about a sense of relief, like venting to a friend.

Try A New Cooking Recipe

A woman thumbs through a recipe book.
Dan Gold/Unsplash
Dan Gold/Unsplash

Whether you cook every meal or only ever eat out, breaking out a new recipe may be a good way to pass the time. Many of us have a dusty cookbook laying around the house somewhere, but there are also tons of recipes available online.

Since cooking can take a while, social isolation is the perfect excuse to finally commit to a time-consuming recipe. Some find working with their hands therapeutic, and there’s nothing like following instructions to get your mind off of being lonely.

Give Yourself A Project

A woman knits.
Les Triconautes/Unsplash
Les Triconautes/Unsplash

Like some of the other suggestions on this list, performing a project can give you a sense of accomplishment and help take your mind off of feelings of loneliness. One idea is to organize an area in your home or put together a photo album.

Alternatively, you might consider taking up a new hobby. Knitting, calligraphy, origami, or jewelry-making are examples of activities that you may enjoy trying and that can help pass the time. Developing a new skill set may give you a sense of appreciation for the time on your own.