With the current lockdown caused by the novel Coronavirus also known as COVID-19, the entire world is facing a lifestyle never before experienced. The need of the hour is to socially distance oneself. This in vogue lifestyle is unquestionably a compelled way of life and not a lifestyle that most of us would opt for. In this unprecedented time, the most common phrase which we have been constantly hearing is “Stay Home”.
While most of us are staying home with our families or friends, for many, social distancing measures have left some feeling very much alone. This brings forth the cardinal question- How do we combat loneliness in a time of isolation? Many at times the words ‘Isolation’ and ‘Loneliness’ are used interchangeably and they are, no doubt, related. However, there is a slight difference between these words. In an interview, Julianne Holt- Lunstad a professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah on being asked what loneliness exactly is she describes loneliness as “not so much being alone as it is about feeling alone”. Since time immemorial, the feeling of loneliness has been felt by people and as such the feeling of loneliness is not something new. However, in the contemporary scenario isolation has been blamed entirely for the feeling of loneliness.
Some may feel loneliness even while in the company of crowds, perhaps because they do not have much social skills to interact with those around them. What this basically means is that one may feel lonely without being isolated which also implies that every isolated person may not feel loneliness. There are some who prefer avoiding crowds or gatherings because they feel more comfortable staying alone. This does not necessarily imply that they are lonely but in fact, they are content staying so.
The point to be noted here is that the isolation we have been compelled to experience currently does not have to coexist with loneliness. It is times like this when we can actually reset culture. Instead of keeping busy running after the rat race, we can slow down, relax, reflect and introspect. This can really help in looking towards our inner self and connecting with oneself even more closely. Learning to be compassionate to oneself in trying times has often been overlooked. Allowing permission to oneself for self- compassion can help get through tough situations.
Due to the busy schedule of our everyday lives, most often, we forget to be genuine and get real with ourselves. Take advantage of this time to reconnect with yourself and by the end of the stipulated pandemic lockdown hopefully a new and focused person will emerge in place of the old. While trying to reconnect with one self, how about connecting with the near and dear ones, especially the ones with whom we are sharing one roof. It is too easy to break the routine of staying in touch with others so why not take a step forward and reach out to friends and family. Hearing from someone not only changes one’s outlook but also eases one’s loneliness to a great extent.
This time around one of the most common or rather quotidian ways of engaging time have been learning new culinary skills and even enhancing them. We have seen circulated videos about some dads trying their hands at cooking and consequently turning out disastrous! So go ahead and make that bread which you have always wanted to try but never got the time to. Make blunders and thunders in the kitchen as long as you are creating wonders!
Also, it is important to be mindful not to stress one too much by trying to be productive. It is definitely well and good to be so, but trying to handle too many things at once and ending up achieving none is worse. Take a breather every once in a while and take one step at a time. As we spend the time of social distancing at home, let us remember that in order to stay together we need to stay at home. By putting up a united front we can emotionally and spiritually stand together. Let us try to practise gratitude and focus on the positive aspect of the day starting from being grateful for the shelter and the safety that we have been blessed with. While the entire world is trying to find ways to cope with this situation, how about reminding ourselves that we are not facing this alone. This is an unprecedented time which calls for an equally innovative measure. Therefore, instead of thinking about our loneliness in this period of isolation let us reconstruct our mindset and combat this together.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Dr. Aniruddha Babar, Dr. Pfokrelo Kapesa, Webei Tsühah, Meren and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.