I live alone. What things should I think about to keep on keeping on during this pandemic?

Mental Health

A: Whether you’re a student living in a studio apartment downtown or retired and living alone in the community, this pandemic has been HARD.

Balancing infection control risks with social connection and extreme levels of uncertainty can be especially stressful when living alone. Three common areas of concern among individuals who live alone include maintaining social connections, planning for the worst, and structuring increased levels of time at home.

Maintaining social connections – Humans are social beings. Restricting more risky interactions should be balanced with the extension of no and low risk connections. Visiting your grandchildren across the country or going out dancing with your crew of girlfriends may be out of the question right now and that sucks. Coming up with safe and creative ways to engage with the people you love is CRITICAL to keeping on. Choosing a small consistent bubble of people with whom you interact can provide an in-person social outlet.

Planning for the worst – Hope for the best but plan for the worst, specifically when it comes to your health and finances. It is much easier to activate a thoughtful plan than to build a plan while you are ill. Consider establishing care with a primary care provider even if you rarely are sick. Keep a supply of maintenence medications at home. Research home and community based services in your area who could be called to help meet your needs in a pinch, such as meal delivery or home health care. Take inventory of your social network. Who would be willing to help in the event of an emergency and have you talked to them about it?

Structuring time at home – We are not suggesting you wear your best suit all day while sticking to a rigid calendar. It’s still day 864,682 of the year 2020 at one million o’ clock in the afternoon and pants with buttons remain optional. BUT, now is a good time to figure out how you function best at home and stick to that routine. A consistent routine improves sleep while also creating chunks of time to do things that make you feel whole. Making a few goals each day and accomplishing them can be a great pick me up.

Some additional reads:

Making a safe pod or bubble 

AARP piece outlining recommendations for managing your health if you live alone and fall ill 

BBC piece on living alone in the pandemic 

Learning Agency Lab Caring for Covid @ Home Toolkit

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