Social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges for people who live alone. While those living alone do not have to navigate boundaries with housemates, they may be faced with more difficulty finding social connection.
Social connection is an integral part of mental and emotional well-being, and social isolation can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. To support employees living alone, Balanced You has developed the following list of tips and resources for you to consider during these uncertain times.
Nourish your body. Living alone during a pandemic can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety, which may cause you to change your exercise routine or eating habits. Try to move your body a few times each week, in any way that feels good for you. And focus your diet on nutritious foods that are comforting, remembering store-bought or restaurant delivery are fine and the occasional indulgence is important. For tips on healthy eating during the pandemic, visit this blog post. To see videos of exercises you can do at home or at work, check out this blog post.
Learn a new skill. The idea of learning new skills has been met with mixed reviews during the pandemic. Don’t feel pressured to compete with others, but if you’re interested in learning something new – art, dance, exercise, musical instruments – go for it! Engaging your brain in learning something that brings you joy can be helpful in easing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Check out YouTube or Instagram for a variety of free instructional videos or join an online class to connect with others while learning a skill together.
Adopt or foster a pet. Have you been thinking about opening your door to an animal companion? Now could be the perfect time. Pets have been shown to improve both the physical and mental health of their owners. If you aren’t ready to commit long-term, consider providing a short-term home for a foster animal who’s waiting to find their forever family. Contact Regional Animal Services of King County for information on animals available to adopt or foster.
Connect socially with loved ones or colleagues. Consider the following tips for connecting with others during the pandemic:
- Develop a routine of connecting safely with loved ones. Consider virtual game nights or book clubs, 1:1 video chats, or meeting a friend for a socially distanced walk. For more tips on how to connect safely with loved ones during the pandemic, check out this blog post on finding safe connection while social distancing or this blog post on connecting with others.
- Reach out to colleagues. Have a workplace buddy? If you’re teleworking, reach out and ask if they’d like to connect for a virtual coffee break, lunch, or after-hours get-together. If you’re working in person, invite your work friend for a socially distanced walk or coffee break outside.
- Join an Affinity Group. King County Affinity Groups are employee resource groups that provide an opportunity for employees to connect with each other and make an impact on equity and social justice. The longest-established Affinity Groups are race-based, and recently groups for LGBTQ and Military/Veteran employees have been added. County policy allows employees to attend Affinity Group meetings and events on paid work time, with supervisor approval.
During COVID-19, Affinity Groups are meeting virtually, and some groups have added activities for additional connection opportunities. Examples include the Asian Pacific Islander Affinity Group’s after-hours Zoom exercise classes, the LatinX Affinity Group’s cafecitos, and the Black/African Affinity Group’s townhalls. For more information on affinity groups, check out this website and this blog post.
For a list of additional tips and resources for supporting mental health during the pandemic, visit the blog post. If you have questions or would like more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.