Being single or otherwise on your own during the pandemic can for sure be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be awful or without benefit to you. There are probably lots of things you can do right now to help yourself cope and make the most of this time. Here are seven ideas to get you started.
Go Wilderness Camping
Head out into the wilds if you can and find yourself a place to fall in love with nature. Camping by yourself can be a gateway to wonder. Opportunities for serene communing with the out of doors may lead to deep revelations, or just some sweet rest and relaxation. No matter what your goal, be ready for some quiet times that become an auditory tapestry of birdsong, frog croaks, and cricket calls as you drop in and listen.
During the time of COVID-19, boondocking or wildland camping might be what’s safer (fewer folks in the area and therefore less chance of exposure) and more available (fewer restrictions on camping on federal lands). It is likely to be remote and rugged, so make sure you bring water, a camping shovel, a strong flashlight, and a camp stove at bare minimum – in addition to the obvious. (A tent or sleepable vehicle, sleeping mat, sleeping bag.)
Bring a book or two if you like to read. Bring a musical instrument if you like to play, or art supplies if you like to create art. Find a quiet place to sit and commune and create and play!
If you don’t own camping gear perhaps you can source some on a local buy-nothing group, or borrow some from a friend. If you’re urban and not able to access the wilderness, perhaps you can make a day trip of it to the biggest local park you can locate. While it’s not the same as wilderness camping, even a few hours of submersion in nature can be a healing experience.
Cat Around – Online!
While being in a relationship doesn’t mean you can’t play the field (hello, open relationships!), there’s nothing quite like the freedom of being single as far as exploring your individual sexuality goes.
You’re single; you can still play the field if you want! Just because you can’t meet up with people in person doesn’t mean you can’t engage with your sexuality or romantic interests. You can take this time to explore your sensual and sexual identity, desires, quirks, or kinks. During COVID-19, for the sake of everyone’s safety, this activity should be restricted to online fun – but that doesn’t need to infringe on your explorations.
A few ways to stretch your sexual and sensual edges while sheltering in place are:
- Masturbating alone
- Masturbating with a friend while sexting, or over a video platform (if that’s safe and within the law for you to do)
- Exploring erotica or porn and seeing what you like or don’t like
- Meeting new friends virtually on dating apps, and playing with them over text or video chat
- Negotiating play scenes with lovers for after isolation is no longer needed
There are plenty of reasons to invest some of this solo time in sexual self-exploration. Taking this time to learn about what makes you hum will serve you well in both the short and long term, with or without a partner. Orgasms are also good for your immune system! They reduce stress levels and increase good feelings for many. And a handful of orgasms for sure helps to make the time in isolation go by more quickly.
Build Solid Friendships
Just because we’re sheltering in place doesn’t mean that we can’t work on building our interpersonal connections. Your friendships are going to get you through thick and thin. There are many ways to build and nurture community and connection while in isolation.
Some simple ways to build your connections while practicing safety include:
- Zoom or FaceTime coffee dates
- Take a walk and talk with a friend over the phone: enjoy a phone chat while you get outside and get some movement in
- Dance parties with your besties on an electronic platform
- Find or create a specific online support group for yourself and those with similar concerns, interests, or cares as yours
- Accountability buddy agreements: these may be about any kind of self care (exercise, eating, taking a shower), work goals, or creative goals, and can be conducted by phone or text or chat. Choose a buddy and agree to an accountability check-in schedule. Whether daily or weekly these simple arrangements can really increase traction for sticking to your goals and commitments
We all need each other right now. Reach out! Support others and find yourself supported in the process.
(Learn To) Cook!
Maybe you never had a real interest in cooking before now, or maybe you were interested but never felt you had time to learn. Well, now not only is there more time available for many of us, there are also fewer opportunities to eat out.
To start, find YouTube tutorials – or better yet, have a community elder talk you through a recipe you have always loved. Ask your mama to walk you through the recipe for your favorite childhood comfort meal. Ask your uncle how to make his favorite. (Build community while learning new recipes!)
Feeding yourself can be a nourishing and empowering act. Embrace it. Explore it. Enjoy it!
Solo Date Night/Day
What do you love to do, but rarely get around to doing? Set aside some time to rediscover and enjoy it. Dinner and a favorite movie is an easy one, but why not get creative and enjoy a guided art session online, or a hike and picnic, or a long bath and self-massage?
It’s easy to let one day bleed into the next in isolation, but there are things you love to do; schedule them in. Pick up that instrument you love to play and sing some love songs to yourself. Write in your journal as you savor a glass of sparkling wine or water.
Solo dates might seem silly at first, but give it a try and over time you may come to cherish the time devoted to nourishing your connection with yourself.
Get Some Therapy
Many therapists have moved their services to telehealth sessions during COVID. There’s no time like the present to dig in and start working on healing or dealing. When solo, you can commit to doing the work for you, and you alone.
There are a few things to remember when seeking out a therapist:
- You are hiring them. Interview your prospective therapist. Have a list of questions that are important to you and see how they respond. (Is it important to you that your therpist is anti-racist and intersectional? That they are gender literate? That they understand the concept of solo-polyamory or relationship anarchy?)
- You don’t need to work with someone you don’t like. And you don’t need to have a reason to move on to a new therapist. If the fit is not good, there are others out there.
- Different therapists have different strengths. Figure out what modalities you might want to try, and what your goals are, and take it from there.
- You can decide the pace for your therapy, and if you need to go deeper or stay more surface, it’s up to you. It’s your process.
- Therapy may stir things up for you, but what better time to invest in some deep healing than when you are sheltering in place? For many of us, things are stirred up anyway at the moment. Prior traumas may be activated, or even just the stress and anxiety of dealing with the unknowns of coronavirus may be destabilizing. There’s no reason not to reach out for support.
Now is the time to love yourself in all the ways you can. Build more trust in your intuition. Do some self inventory, and see if you can’t begin to allow identity factors that don’t serve you to fall away.
Where you can’t allow them to fall away, practice acceptance. We can’t always get to loving ourselves, but we can often at least get to accepting ourselves. Love and nurture your broken parts as well as your strengths. If it works for you, practice simple affirmations, like, “I love this part of me too.”
Give yourself hugs, little self massage sessions, and treats. Move your body, and when you can’t do that practice even more acceptance. Reward yourself for completing what under usual circumstances you would consider a minor victory, like getting out of bed and brushing your teeth.
For many of us these times are not easy, and being alone in isolation is a great challenge. Offer yourself as much grace, love, and acceptance as you can muster, and this may become a time of sweet self-nurturance.