Overcoming solitary confinement
Updated: Jan 14
The isolation in which we are immersed puts us to the test. Never before have we been forced to stay at home all the time to protect ourselves and others. For people living alone, confinement is the challenge of living daily without anyone around.
We have been confined for several weeks now. Our lives have changed overnight and we have had to adapt to this new way of life that is social distancing. We had to review our routines, our habits, as well as our ways of living and interacting together. On the one hand, we have gradually learned to practice physical distance with the people around us. On the other hand, we have to live 24/7 with our partner, with the children if we are parents, or with ourselves if we are alone. The challenge is great, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. And then there's the unknown: we don't know when our lives will return to normal. So for now, we need to find a way to live through the isolation while remaining sane, for ourselves and for the people who share our lives at home.
IT'S GOING TO BE OKAY 🌈
As for me, I am one of those people who experience this social distancing alone at home. So I tried to come up with ideas to alleviate the isolation of the lonely shut-ins and to let them know that it's going to be okay, as all the kids tell us with their rainbows.
Indeed, unless you are an unsociable person, a hermit or suffer from social anxiety, it is difficult to live in physical isolation from others. My home, my haven and my refuge, is now my only universe. I live a recluse in this world where no one physically revolves around me. Here I am in a forced solitude that I must soften and overcome. Not to let myself go, but rather to stimulate myself, to brighten up and to recharge my batteries.
"Loneliness is not the absence of companionship, but the time when our soul is free to converse with us and help us decide our lives."
HOW TO LIVE BETTER IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT
So here are some ideas for being at home alone during this quarantine:
SOCIALIZE REMOTELY: Stay in touch with those around you. Call, video call, text. These days, there is no shortage of ways to maintain social relationships despite distance, so you can stay close to those around you. Technology is your ally.
TIDYING UP: This is the perfect time to declutter your home. There are so many things that we no longer need. Why not do a little sorting and get rid of what is no longer needed. If there are things you'd like to donate, set them aside until after the lockdown, then you can go take them to the charity of your choice.
GET TRAINED: Start training online. No matter what you're interested in, you can find trainings related to your interests. If money is a concern, look for tutorials on YouTube. You can learn a lot there, even if it's not in the form of training.
STAYING IN SHAPE: Exercise at home. There are many resources online and coaches offer live sessions on the Internet. If you used to go to a gym or yoga studio, this alternative is likely to be offered. If not, you can also dig out your old fitness DVDs. For those of you who have exercise equipment at home, use it and if you were already doing it, exercise more often.
ENJOY YOURSELF: play online board games on free platforms. You will be able to play games with other players from a distance. Some platforms also allow you to organize game nights and invite your friends or relatives to participate. Apart from playing games, you could also indulge in reading. Read those books that you bought thinking you could devour them immediately, but have put aside because of all the things you're doing. Already reading? Then explore the web to acquire new books. You'll certainly make some great finds and the discovery adds to the pleasure of reading. If you're a hands-on person, try your hand at crafts or other activities and let your creativity run wild.
DOING SMALL JOBS around the house or garden. With spring starting, it's the beginning of gardening and vegetable gardens. It's time to clean up your yard to get it ready for summer. The same is true if you have a balcony. You might want to freshen it up a bit. There are a myriad of balcony decorating ideas on Pinterest. Take a look and create a mood board for yourself. When it comes to the interior of your home, this can be an opportunity to repaint the walls or even change the layout of your living room or bedroom. Here again, there is no shortage of inspiration on Pinterest. And for the more enterprising, you could do some small renovations.
ENGAGE IN PERSONAL PROJECTS: That dream you've had for so long and keep putting off, it's time to plan for it. Move beyond mere intention and give yourself the means to make it real. If you've started it and put it on hold, why not dust it off and give it a second wind! And if it's on hold due to the health crisis, that gives you time to tweak it or think of new opportunities you can explore after containment.
MAKE AN INTROSPECTION: Solitude is conducive to contemplation. This is a time to probe your inner self to understand what is going on, to find clarity, to know yourself better, to soothe your emotions and inner turmoil. Think of this time of isolation as an opportunity to recharge your batteries. Give yourself the gift of a spiritual retreat during which you will meditate, pray, read, and nourish your soul and spirit.
Good luck to all! Stay home and take care of yourself. We are alone together.
“Solitude is a unique moment of peace of tranquility that no vitamin can provide.”
ONE YEAR LATER, WHERE ARE WE?
(April 7, 2021)
A year has passed, to the day, since this article was published. We were then in the first wave of the pandemic and had no idea that we would still be facing the coronavirus one year later. Now we are in the third wave and this time we are dealing with the Covid-19 variants. The rainbows of the children accompanied by the comforting "It's going to be okay" have now all disappeared, probably a sign of generalized mental fatigue due to repeated confinement. Prolonged isolation takes its toll and makes us more vulnerable to depression. Even if the rainbows have left the windows of the houses, optimism must remain in order to overcome the constraints and restrictions imposed on us and to fight the ambient gloom.
Do the above ideas still hold true for overcoming solitary confinement after this last extraordinary year? Yes, even more than before. There are even many more resources and services available online now, as society has adapted to this new normal. That being said, if you feel that your mental health is greatly affected by isolation, don't hesitate to seek help. These are very challenging times, but by working together (limiting our contact with others and applying other barriers), the pandemic will eventually be overcome.
"Never lose hope. When the sun sets, stars come into sight"
I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the frontline health care workers who have been on the front lines for the past year and to remember all those who have been lost to Covid-19.
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(Ma qualité de vie means My quality of life in French.)
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