Living Alone During Lockdown
Feelings of isolation and loneliness can be intensified for those isolating on their own, five women share their experience
As we approach the end of week six of lockdown, missing friends and family is a situation we all find ourselves in. However, for those living alone – either by choice or as a result of the current situation – the feelings of isolation and loneliness can be intensified. Here, Restless spoke with five women about their experience…
“Living alone during lockdown has been extremely lonely, yet at the same time, very liberating. Being in full control of my own space has allowed me to adjust to this massive change and try to navigate my new lifestyle and routine free of judgement or interference from others. I think I’d feel much more anxious about the virus if I was still living and sharing with a flatmate – I can control my space and my own isolation, but I can’t control someone else and how they choose to isolate and who they come into contact with. I can also sing and perform livestream gigs, uninterrupted.
“The hardest thing for me was accepting that my shows have been cancelled. I’ve lost over 100+ shows and have no income until October. Accepting that I won’t be travelling and I will be staying put in one country, let alone one flat, has been difficult. I felt a heavy sense of grief when I unpacked my suitcase that was meant for my tour of Denmark.”
“I’ve found lockdown really difficult. Normally I don’t mind living alone at all – in fact, I absolutely love it – but with both working and living alone, I really rely on socialising in order to feel connected to people. The smallness of my space is what people seem to think would be most difficult, but that hasn’t bothered me, it’s knowing I won’t see anyone I know or love for as long as this continues. And not being able to just have a damn hug!
“I had started to suffer PTSD just before lockdown – I witnessed a fatal stabbing right outside my workplace a few months ago – and to be suddenly stuck indoors with only my own thoughts 24/7 has been tough. The impact of that in addition to the general anxiety and fears about my family has been a real struggle and I think just having anyone else actually here with me (even a noisy housemate who didn’t do the washing up!) would have been some comfort. I am starting to turn the corner now thanks to some phone counselling, but it’s slow progress and the waiting list for mental health support is inevitably very long right now.
“This experience is making me even more grateful for the amazing friends and family I have and for the technology we are privileged to have access to. Although we can’t be together in person, they are keeping me going.”
“As time has gone on, I have found it really difficult not being in the same room as my loved ones. Hugs and simply being physically close to people is something I’m really missing. It’s helped me realise I actually really love my own space (sorry housemates!), but also just how important contact with loved ones is. I’m single and have historically been afraid of being alone, so this was a big challenge for me. But it’s helped me face my fears and learn to love my own company.
“My family has a Facebook group chat where we talk everyday, and we have a weekly Friday 12pm video chat with everyone, including my cousin in Adelaide and my brother in Portugal. I talk to my bestie as much as ever by text everyday and have group Zoom or Houseparty chats, which are hilarious. At the start of lockdown, it was all corona-related chat but my friends and I made a decision to talk more about what is going well and new things we’re doing and learning. I also make sure I chat to the shop assistants when I go to Sainsbury’s to get some safely distanced contact, I enjoy that brief moment of connection.”
“At first I actually found the experience of living alone during lockdown okay but the longer it has gone on the tougher it’s got. I’m pretty independent and I am used to spending time alone, but being totally cut off gets more challenging each day. I speak to my family and friends on Whatsapp everyday but it’s not always easy to keep in touch as lots have kids so they have their hands very full at the moment.
“The lockdown has made me think about my lifestyle choices. For example, I’ve sat on the idea of getting a cat for a few years but never took the plunge and now I have. I love animals and really enjoyed looking after friends’ pets so I can’t wait for my new companion to arrive – she is still with the breeder as she can’t be separated from her mum yet but I am picking her up in a few weeks. I’m really happy I’ve made a decision. It was always something I wanted and lockdown just made it clearer.”
“On the one hand, I am loving living alone during lockdown. I am decluttering my home and making space. I’m at a point where I am so aware that I don’t need all the things I own in my home. I love cooking and eating well so my food prep game is on point too. Additionally, I am doing so much personal development work that I haven’t previously been able to do. Maybe I wasn’t prioritising it because I felt like I didn’t have time. I now have time to evaluate what I want from my life.
“On the other hand, I miss my family tremendously. We’re really close and Sundays would often be family time. I miss the depth of that connection which I feel really grounds me and stabilises the person that I am. I don’t think that this current situation means I need to live with someone unless I am in a relationship that moves in that direction, it just highlights my need for balance with social connection and interaction.”