Alone but Not Lonely: Three Ways to Connect with Yourself as the Pandemic Rages On

Nearly one year later, and we are all still in the throes of COVID-19. Many of us are pandemic-weary yet again as restrictions continue and the harsh winter weather keeps us trapped indoors. However, with hope on the horizon with the rollout of vaccines, I am reminded that the pandemic has given every one of us a great opportunity to get to know ourselves. Over the past month particularly, I have disconnected from my WiFi router as much as possible, and listened to what my body, emotions, and mind are asking for, and how I can best take care of myself in a time where I am more disconnected from the world than ever. Here are my suggestions, made after trial-and-error, of ways to connect with yourself and to find peace and joy in your own company:

  1. 1. Schedule Time to Disconnect from Screens

    Ripped jeans and macbook

    This one seems obvious, but I found it very difficult to detach from my laptop and my phone initially. It is easy to feel like you’re six feet underwater with work emails piling up, impending assignments for school looming in your head, and the constant pull of social media, online shopping, and other vices found via electronics. Give yourself permission to take time-- whether once a day, once a week-- whatever works for you, to unglue yourself from a screen and stretch your eyes (and maybe your body too!) and let yourself relax. I find this easier to do if you replace this time with a new hobby or a passion-- such as reading, an exercise routine, meditating, or taking a long bath. It is much easier to form a new habit when it doesn’t feel like you’re giving up something-- you are replacing it with something better and more fulfilling and something that brings you joy.

  2. 2. Go Crazy with Self-Expression

    paint-splattered gloves against yellow background

    I have worn my hair as my natural colour, give or take a shade or two, as long as I can remember. During the pandemic, I realized that I had only worn my natural shade because I was scared of what others might think of me. This lead me to picking up a bottle of bleach and some hair-cutting scissors and giving myself the look of my dreams: a shorter cut with some quasi e-girl hair streaks (now navy blue) that I adore-- even if they are now out of fashion. Regardless of hair, now is the time to find and try a style you’ve always wanted to rock. Who’s going to judge you? Make some new outfit combinations, go online thrifting if your budget allows, try a new makeup or hair look that you’ve always been afraid to try. You can also re-purpose old clothes into new looks, or take a shot at re-creating a recipe or home decor look you’ve saved on a Pinterest board. If it flops or if you dislike it, at leat you can say that you gave it a shot, and you will come out the other side knowing yourself better.

  3. 3. Find Your Circadian Rhythm

    Woman in bed

    Sleep is one of the easiest ways to keep ourselves healthy, energized, and youthful-- and what better time to experiment with a nightime routine than now as Winter continues? (Your Zoom class will never know you’re wearing fluffy pyjama bottoms and slippers after a rough night of sleep anyways.) Maybe you’ve been told that you should get up at  5:00 to boost your productivity, or that you should be taking naps throughout the day to sleep less at night. I was a sucker for different wellness trends, but the easiest and most effective trick out there for anyone is to figure out what your body wants to feel good. I used to be the biggest night-owl out there, but after a month of listening to my body and letting myself sleep when I was tired, I found out that I am actually a morning person and that I prefer about 7.5 hours of sleep to feel rested. Using this information, I have tailored my life around my ideal sleep schedule and I have become a lot more rested and much more productive. Some people will need more sleep than others, and women can tailor their sleep needs to monthly menstruation cycles, sleeping at different durations to help their body restore themselves as needed.

 

    While these solutions are seemingly minor, I have found that they have allowed me to foster a relationship with myself and my well-being that was not possible in a bustling pre-pandemic world; and getting to know yourself is one of the most empowering and rewarding tasks that anyone can take. So I hope that you might consider my suggestions for yourselves and take the time to slow down and get to know the most important person in your life: YOU!