Ultimate guide to overcome loneliness, boredom and anxiety

Ultimate guide to overcome boredom, loneliness and anxiety

Life can be so unpredictable. We go about our days believing in the solidity of our routines. We imagine our lives as trees, rooted into place. We imagine our daily lives and chores as the branches that extend from the tree – we have our familiar routes, our favorite coffee shops, the barista we greet every time we visit. There’s a sense of comfort in what we know to be true about our lives.

And in the blink of an eye, everything has changed. The world is in lock-down. Borders are sealed. Entire states and countries are in self-isolation and all of us are maintaining social distance.

The vulnerable among us, the ones with underlying diseases and chronic illness are in a heightened state of anxiety. People are losing their jobs; others are having to work from home; the world and our routines as we know them have been disrupted and overturned.

We know that the threat of the coronavirus is real. The only way we can avoid the panic is to bury our heads in the sand like ostriches, which is never a good idea. But we don’t have to be plugged into the panic 24×7, either. A better strategy may be to follow the situation reports on  WHO and to follow the coronavirus safety guidelines issued by them. That really is the best that we can do in this situation.

In the meanwhile, we need to find strategies to deal with the anxiety, and to stave off the boredom and depression that can set in due to isolation and loneliness.

Using art and creativity to deal with anxiety and stress

As a creative soul, I turn to my art journal to process all of my anxiety and stress. This is something I’ve been doing since much before the coronavirus pandemic. More often than not recently, I’ve turned to my art journal to process all my fear over the political climate in my country. You can see an example of an art journal spread I created to stave off politics related anxiety.

In fact, I did a little bit of art magic specifically to send out peace and love and empathy and kindness into the world. And I would love it if you would join me in sending out some love and peace and soothing too – God knows we all need it at this time!

It’s very easy to do – simply light a candle, put on some soothing music, and paint with the intention of sending out love, peace, and kindness into the world.

Just as focusing on a negative news cycle can create stress in the collective unconscious {something we are all witnessing}, I believe that focusing on kindness and empathy can also help the collective. If nothing else, it can soothe our nerves, which in turn can help us to comfort our loved ones and friends, who can then comfort their friends – and slowly, we can create a ripple effect.

Strategies to alleviate boredom and loneliness when you’re stuck at home

Comedian Aparna Nancherla’s viral tweet pretty much sums up one of the biggest problems that the coronavirus-related lock-down and social distancing is causing: In a world that celebrates extroverts, a lot of people have no idea how to deal with staying at home!

Honestly, it’s not like hermits like me never go out of the house. It’s just that we are better at enjoying our own company. For us, being alone isn’t the same as loneliness, and we are not easily bored.

So here are a few tips and suggestions on things that you can do during a lock down to stave off boredom and loneliness:

Spend time on your passions: When it’s business as usual, it’s easy to allow social obligations and the weekend grocery run to eat into your free time. Now that you have more time on hand, ear-mark a couple of hours a day to focus on your passion.

Even if you’re working from, you’re saving all the commute time, so why not channelize that more effectively?

Pick up a new hobby: Always wanted to learn Spanish, or knitting, or book binding, but didn’t have the time? Well now, perhaps, you do! And if book binding is what you’re interested in, there are tons of free resources online – you can check out my book binding Pinterest board for ideas.

If you like the structure of a class, Kiala Givehand is my go-to teacher for bookbinding. (Note: Just click on All Courses at the top left of the screen to see all the classes in her Teachable school.)

woman reading a book

Read: Enforced time at home is the perfect time to make a dent on your TBR. Dust off all those books you bought and never read, and spend a couple of hours a day immersed between the pages of a book.

If you like to gamify things, join me for the 2020 book bingo reading challenge, and check out my book reviews or browse through my book shelf to find some interesting titles to read.

Catch up on movies/TV series: This is also a great time to catch up on your favorite Netflix series, stream some movies, or documentaries. I don’t have any recommendations for you here, though, because I haven’t subscribed to any of these streaming services. It’s how I am able to juggle everything that I do – art, blogging, creating and teaching ecourses, tarot readings, furthering my own learning, reading, etc. with a demanding full time job.

Slay your to-do list: Specifically, the things you constantly put off because you don’t have the time. This would be a good time to KonMarie your wardrobe, organize the kitchen, label the storage boxes, or tackle any of the projects you regularly put off.

Do nothing: Yup, you read that right. Just make yourself a cup of coffee or tea and sit out in your balcony or in your garden and savor your favorite brew. Downtime, periods when we just allow our minds to wander, often lead to some interesting creative breakthroughs.

Also, you don’t have to utilize this time well if you’re not up to it. Do what brings you comfort, if that means blanket fort time, do that. If you want to just lie in bed all day, allow yourself that grace.

Feel your feelings: This is an unusual time. Don’t use busy work as an excuse to sweep your feelings under the carpet. Sit with them. Allow them some space. But do try to shift them – journal, create art, dance, have a good cry. You may not “overcome” your feelings, but maybe you can get a bit of a handle on them.

Tips for working from home

For those of us who are lucky enough to work from home during the self quarantine, it can take a bit of getting used to. The internet is filled with memes and photographs of people trying to come to terms with cats that jump on their laps when they’re working and kids who demand attention in the middle of the work day.

Working from home could also very easily become the only thing we do – since we are home anyway, we may end up feeling like we’re working 24×7. This isn’t necessary or required. Here are a few tried and tested tips to maintain some balance.

Maintain office timings: You may be tempted to log in early or continue working long after office hours are over. Don’t. This isn’t necessary or expected, and will only add to your stress levels. You also don’t need to “over-compensate” in any way for working from home.

Take a lunch break: Which means that you will get up from your home office desk, go out, and have a meal at the dining table. Just as you likely would at work.

Ginger cats lounging in the sun

Take “water cooler” breaks: We all get up from our desk multiple times – for bio breaks {which I’m sure I don’t need to remind you to take!} and to go get a coffee or a glass of water. These “water cooler” breaks are also inevitably when we catch up with colleagues. Just as you do at work, so you must do at home. Get up. stretch. Hug your pet. Chat with your partner or your kids for 5-10 minutes, and then get back to work.

Shut the door to your home office: If you can, that is! This is probably more relevant for those of you with children – or with particularly distracting and disruptive pets! It also helps to set boundaries with your family and gives you the privacy and relative quiet you probably need to get your work done.

Dress down {if you wish}: Most work from home tips advice you to dress up as if you were going to work. But it’s really not all that important. You may find that you enjoy the change of pace and the flexibility to “show up” for work with bed head in your PJs. Of course, you may have to rethink bed head and that old t-shirt if you’re going to get on a video conference with your colleagues. You can still wear the PJs though {just saying!}.

Dealing with depression, loneliness, boredom and isolation

Despite our best efforts, though, it is easy for the forced social distance and the lock down to lead to feelings of depression, boredom and loneliness.

Remember that social distancing does not mean social media distancing. Use technology to your advantage. Talk to friends and family over FaceTime or Skype, and use group video calls on Skype to set up art dates with friends.  If you’re nerdy like me, you may also enjoy writing letters to loved ones – mail them once the coronavirus situation has improved though, please!

journaling

Another interesting idea may be to document this time by writing a letter to your future self, and have it delivered one, three, or five years later; or even on a specified date. Writing a letter to your future self in this manner – as a form of documentation more than anything else – may help you to look at the situation from a different, slightly more constructive lens.

Maintaining a journal at this time would also be very helpful. You could use it as a safe container to pour out your anxiety and stress. For an added element of catharsis, you could burn the pages or tear them up and flush them down the toilet. Consider maintaining a gratitude journal as well during this time. Even if you list three simple blessings each day, it can serve as a powerful reminder that not everything is as bleak as it may seem.

And of course, try some mindfulness practices. One simple practice that you can try is the  5-4-3-2-1 technique that can help you to pause in the middle of an anxiety flare-up and ground into the present moment. The is a very simple practice: Stop whatever you are doing and take a look around you. Make a note of five things that you can see, four things that you can hear, three things that you can feel, two things that you can smell, and one thing that you can taste.

The ultimate guide to deal with mental health issues such as anxiety, loneliness and boredom

This takes just a couple of moments, and it can help you come firmly into the here and now. It is especially helpful when we are caught up in our head, imagining worst case scenarios and doomsday futures. By putting you right where you are, firmly into your here and now, can help you see that this moment is just fine – or at the very least a lot less traumatic than whatever imagined scenario your brain was conjuring up.

I hope that you find these tips and strategies to alleviate loneliness and boredom, deal with anxiety, and work from home effectively during this time helpful. I know how overwhelming and uncertain everything feels right now, but we will get through this! Just hang in there, okay?

Make some art. Write. Garden. Connect more deeply with your loved ones. Cry if you need you. We are all in this together. And we can do this!

Posted in Soulful living.

8 Comments

  1. Thanks for this post. I am actually enjoying my solitary stay. No people, no going out, no classes. My time is all my own! I have been able to get through piles of paper that had been begging to be decluttered like forever and I am catching up on my reading. Now all I need to do is get back to my writing, but I am letting my mood decide my plan of the day, without feeling too guilty about it.

    • I am enjoying it too. But then, I am anyway an introvert and love staying at home. I wasn’t sure how I would cope with working from home, but one week in and I find myself quite enjoying it.

  2. What a great post! Just what I needed today. Thank you. I especially love how you mention “Spend time on your passions”. So often we forget what we are passionate about and it takes the back burner when we are working so hard in our business. I also love the idea of writing a letter to my future self. When we look back, we can understand why things happened and see the blessings in them.

  3. Amazing post and just at the right time. I’ve literally done everything to keep myself busy. I’m learning gardening, joined online photography course, read loads of books, finished 2 web series and on next one right now. I think Internet is my saviour in this social distancing.
    Your tips works I myself is a example of that.

  4. This is such a comprehensive, relevant, useful and meaningful post.
    I am using this time to read, watch movies, write my posts for the upcoming A to Z Challenge, play Uno and Jenga with the boys and the time is just flying.

  5. Such a great post with so much information, I work from home, but was able to pop over to the shop and little bar with no problem and say hello to people. So not much has changed for me physically, mentally, it is very different, before it was a choice now it is not. Hope you all stay safe

  6. This is a valuable post at the moment, Shinjini. We all know most of these tricks and tips, yet we need multiple reminders to keep ourselves. I am actually missing my solitude during this time. I like to spend some time in my own company to reflect and align my focus. But with everyone staying at home, I am not getting my time or space which is affecting me in a not so positive way. But I am readjusting to my situation and finding my space in my own way. I am determined to find positivity and hope.
    Stay safe, Shinjini. Nice art work. 🙂

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