I just spent my first holiday ever, alone. And? It was fucking terrible. I wish I could say that the solitude led to a deep spiritual experience where I went into an altered state and further deepened my connection to The Universe. I’ve had those experiences before, they’re pretty awesome. But not this time. It just sucked.
There was an hour of zoom dinner prepared and hosted by a dear friend that was beyond lovely. But before and after sucked. I wish I had a better, more refined word, but I'm from Missouri where the only thing associated with refinery is petroleum. So I’ll stick with Suck.
Now, you might think, “Complaining isn’t very compassionate.” (Or maybe that’s my own judgement?) But I think part of compassion is calling something what it really is and identifying how it truly feels. Because you can't mitigate, change, or heal something you don't acknowledge. To glaze over it and pretend I didn’t think it sucked would be to spiritually bypass myself. And bb, it's 2020 AND WE ARE NOT DOING THAT ANYMORE HONEY BUN. So here it is: Thanksgiving Sucked. Going an entire day without talking to someone sucks. Being alone all the time, sucks. There. I said it. I felt it. Now let’s party.
Question: How do we heal the trauma of loneliness while we are still experiencing the isolation that’s creating it? To be honest, I’m not quite sure we can, yet. I saw a tweet that said something like, “You can’t start healing until the hurting stops.” And I think that’s spot on for pandemic loneliness. HOWEVER, I do think we can alleviate the weight of it, even if only for a collection of moments. So here are some hot hot solo tips* I’ve picked up along the way:
1. Stop talking to people who make you feel like shit
If you are living alone there is no one physically there to support you when you feel like shit. This sucks. So avoiding people (you don’t have to cut them out forever, it can be temporary or even reduced) who make you feel like shit is a surefire way of preventing the suffering they inflict. The mute and block buttons exists for a reason. Use them. Now, if you feel "bad" about using them, ask yourself this, "If this was 1995 would this person be in my life AT ALL?" If the answer is no, do what feels best. TBH I have never muted or blocked as many people in my life as I have since March. Yes, it’s very hard but your life will suck less once it’s done.
You wanna feel better? Sing a few bars of WAP. If that’s not your bag, you can also chant Om. Or if you think you have a stinky singing voice (you don’t) simply hum! All of these actions stimulates the vagus nerve which tells your brain that things are okidoke which then tells your parasympathetic nervous system to chill you tf out. I'm literally humming as I write this. 10/10 would hum again.
3. Stop trying to fix things
This one comes from my therapist. When she was like: Maybe just stop trying to fix it for a while? I could feel something in me relax. Like maybe month 9 of isolation isn’t the time to perfect my bedtime routine? Maybe I can give it a LITERAL rest until after round two of my vaccine?
4. Modify Anything and Everything
Yeah you use to be able to run a 10k and keep the dishes out of the sink. But it’s Covid Time. No one knows how to deal with this “correctly” because no one alive has ever dealt with this. So if you need to modify something you use to do to get even a teensy bit of it done, do it. For me this is meditating while lying down. I’m usually a big fan of sitting up. But sometimes it’s really cold and my energy is in the toilet. So I surrender and meditate lying down. Which, BONUS: You’ll have completed a task before you even get out of bed!
A handy dandy journal prompt to help you start modifying is to ask yourself, “What am I judging myself for not being able to do fully? Can I modify it to create more ease?”
5. Meet me online at Together Apart
I know we’re all zoomed out but Together Apart isn’t your regular degular online meeting that you have to plaster a fake smile on to join. It’s an online support group for singles living alone during the pandemic. We’re gonna work with some of the above suggestions and create space to share and come up with new ones. We’re also going to meditate and have fun, because I refuse to do anything without the possibility of a good time. You can come as you are with your suck and your wins. It’s all welcome in this space. Many hands make light work, so let’s come together to alleviate the emotional weight of this pandemic. Our first meeting is Tuesday, December 8th at 7:00 central. You can register here.
If Together Apart isn’t your jam because you’re married or live in a commune, join me online Saturday December 12th at 11:00 am central for Creative Power Hour. 1 meditation. 2 prompts. Endless possibilities. This month’s theme is joy. Which I think we can all use a little bit of ;-)
*These tips are not once size fits all, nothing ever is. You are the resident expert in your life so modify and ignore them as you see fit.