For many of us, the lockdown has intensified feelings of loneliness.
Some of us will have had periods of complete self-isolation, while others will have lived alone during lockdown or spent periods of time working away from families or flatmates.
Restrictions on our daily lives have seen disruption like we’ve never known.
And despite the easing of restrictions, many are still vulnerable to loneliness. So how can we break this cycle of isolation?
We’ve drawn from the learnings at CABA to list ways to combat this and keep ourselves as active as possible.
Speak up, reach out
Making an effort to connect with friends, family and those in our inner circle makes a huge difference to our happiness levels. Yes, you may have to use a zoom call, but we should do all we can to take advantage of the technology available.
For some of us, family and other relationships might be strained. But this doesn’t need to mean that you’re alone. There’s still an opportunity to forge new friendships during this time. Consider joining groups on social media or interest forums where you can meet like-minded people.
Schedules are good
For those on furlough and unable to work, the days can feel long, and for those working from home, the weekends often feel vague and fleeting. For many, the lines between work and home have become blurred.
To combat this try keeping a regular schedule to help the days feel structured and ‘normal’. Getting up at a similar time and starting with a strong morning routine will help set your day off well.
And before you go to bed each night, try listing what you want to achieve the next day. The feeling of achievement will go a long way towards feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment. Keeping busy and stimulating the mind helps to reduce the time spent reflecting on isolation.
It is widely known now that there is a link between mental and physical health. So the better we feel in our bodies, the better we feel in our minds.
Regular physical activity doesn’t just have a range of health benefits, it can also relieve stress and alleviate depression and anxiety – which can all be triggered by a sense of isolation and loneliness.
With exercise, the key is to make it a habit. Many people took up walking or running during the height of lockdown as a way to get out of the house. Of course, this isn’t always easy when you’re already very busy.
But as much as possible we should try to make time for it, as the benefits are numerous. It improves your energy levels, lifts your mood, promotes better quality sleep, and will actually make it easier to manage all the things you need to do.
Look after yourself
Before the pandemic, many were too busy to consider their own well-being as a priority. But now, with many having more time, we can use this as an opportunity to focus on practising self-compassion.
Simple things such as: exploring new hobbies, enjoying long baths or just spending time preparing our favourite meals, will relax our minds and give us some much-needed time out.
Have you tried giving mindfulness a go? Regular mindfulness practice can help relieve stress, improve your sleep, and enable you to regulate your emotions.
Look to the future
It’s important to keep in mind that this will end, and the restrictions will eventually lift. While we can’t put an exact date on when that will be, and we may have to adapt to the ‘new normal’, it’s important to not lose sight of that. These thoughts help us cope, especially when we’re feeling lonely.
The power of perspective
When we’re feeling alone or down, it’s easy to lose motivation or see the joy in life, so we must push through our own personal barriers. We’re living through a pandemic, and we must not lose sight of how extraordinary this is. By keeping busy and staying connected, we can make the most of this time.
This blog is a joint collaboration between Kaplan and CABA. CABA is the charity which supports the wellbeing of the chartered accountant community. They provide lifelong support to ACA students, past and present ICAEW members, and their close families across the globe.
For more information on how CABA can support you at this time visit cabamywellbeing.org.uk.