How To Cope With Loneliness During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Since public health officials have stressed that social distancing is the best way to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, you’ll likely be spending a lot more time at home in the coming weeks. Keeping your distance is an effective way to protect yourself and others from catching the virus, but isolating during such a stressful time can be mentally and emotionally difficult. If you’re wondering how to cope with loneliness during the coronavirus outbreak, I bear good news: Experts say you can do your part to slow the contagion while still feeling connected to others.

All individuals crave some level of human connection (shoutout to my fellow struggling extroverts). In order to satisfy that craving, you may find yourself scrolling through Twitter and Instagram more than ever before — but the problem with relying on your social media feeds is that a lot of what you see is probably related to the outbreak, which could exacerbate your anxiety. Surely, there’s something to be said for staying informed about the latest news updates, and seeing what others in your network are thinking or feeling, but keep in mind that there are other ways to accomplish both of those things if you feel that social media is having a detrimental effect on your emotional and mental wellbeing.

When the loneliness starts getting the best of you, simply try one of these creative strategies for instantly cultivating feelings of connection.

1. Throw A Netflix Party.

Not sure how to cope with loneliness during the coronavirus outbreak? Try adding the Netflix Party Chrome extension.
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Watching Grey’s Anatomy or The Office is way more fun when you and your besties can converse about the heartfelt moments between characters or the hilarious hijinks they get into (looking at you, Jim Halpert). Luckily, the Netflix Party Chrome browser extension allows you to do just that.

Not only does the extension synchronize playback so you’re watching the film or TV episode at the exact same time, but it also has a group chat feature for you all to share a few LOLs, emojis, and other reactions throughout the viewing experience. You could even turn it into a drinking game — like taking a sip any time Michael Scott brags to the camera about his managerial skills (warning: this could get messy).

2. Have A Dinner Or Drinks Date Over FaceTime

Amanda Ruiz, a licensed professional counselor and founder of The Counseling Collective, says that now is the perfect time to use technology to your advantage.

Rather than eating dinner alone, make a plan to enjoy a meal with a friend, family member, or partner by using FaceTime. Why not tackle the same recipe, and cook together while you’re video chatting? You could also organize a virtual happy hour with a group of besties, and catch up over a glass or two of wine, homemade sangria, margs, or mocktails.

3. ‘Meet’ Your New Matches.

Did you know that Bumble has an in-app video chat feature? That means that even if you’re practicing social distancing and avoiding dates IRL, you can still get some face time with your crushes. As soon as you’ve matched with someone, all you have to do is hit the video icon in the top right-hand corner of your convo screen. (Note: Only women get to make the first move on video chat).

Interacting over video chat is a great way to get a feel for your chemistry and communication compatibility, as facial cues can reveal far more than DMing or texting. Who knows? While in isolation, you could very well have your first date with “The One.”

4. Start A Virtual Club.

Wondering how to cope with loneliness during the coronavirus outbreak? Consider starting a virtual book club.
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Whether you’re eager to catch up on the latest celebrity memoirs, dating podcasts, or documentaries, now is a great time to launch a virtual club where you can share your thoughts and have thought-provoking discussions.

If you’re starting a book club, Goodreads allows you to establish an online group where you can keep track of members, provide deets on your online meetings, and moderate convos on a discussion board. For other types of clubs, consider making a Facebook page where you can share viewing/listening suggestions and post the schedule for your virtual meetings. You can use Google Forms or Survey Monkey to vote on new reads, flicks, shows, or podcasts. Then, host your virtual discussions via Skype, Google Hangouts video chat, Zoom, or another similar service.

5. Tune Into A Virtual Concert.

As more concerts and music festivals have gotten canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, many musicians — including Chris Martin from Coldplay, Katherine McPhee, and Keith Urban — are recording live performances from their own homes to keep fans entertained.

On March 16, Martin shared a virtual concert that included a number of Coldplay’s classics, as well as a teaser for a new song. John Legend also live-streamed a performance from his official Instagram account Tuesday at 4 p.m. EST.

The app Squad allows you to screenshare with a friend, so you can stream concerts at the same time. And hey, you won’t have to deal with crowds or overpriced beer.

Check out a full list of upcoming virtual concerts on NPR.

6. Take A Virtual Cooking Class.

Not sure how to cope with loneliness during the coronavirus outbreak? Try a virtual cooking class.
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Now that you have some extra time on your hands to whip up a delicious meal (and hopefully, have stocked up on some essentials), head over to Antoni Porowski’s Instagram account for some culinary inspiration.

The Queer Eye resident food expert just launched a new series hilariously titled “Quar Eye: Cooking Lessons in Quarantine,” which takes you through the steps of relatively simple yet satiating recipes. Porowski’s first lesson teaches you how to make the “Keep Calm-lette.” It’s the perfect dish to whip up with a friend or family member, and you can compare results while you chow down after the class.

7. Play Online Games With Friends.

Nearly any board or card game you can think of, from Yahtzee to chess, can be played online, which means that you can indulge that competitive streak without leaving your home. Challenge your friends to a game of Uno or shoot some virtual pool via Facebook instant games, or wheel and deal your way to fortune in an online game of Monopoly. In need of a few laughs? You can’t go wrong with a digital round of the outrageous Cards Against Humanity.

8. Start A Creative Competition.

There’s hardly a better time to get the creative juices flowing and rediscover a long lost artistic passion. A friend of mine recently participated in a playwriting “bake-off” — where each member was sent five “ingredients” to include in their story (a certain setting, theme, etc.), and submitted their finished piece by the deadline the next day.

You can totally adapt this idea to a variety of other art forms, too. Why not launch a songwriting, poetry, painting, or graphic design challenge? All you need are a few friends or acquaintances with the same hobby. Once you’ve decided on the guidelines, schedule a video chat to discuss and provide feedback on your masterpieces.

9. Get A Social Sweat On.

If you're wondering how to cope with loneliness during the coronavirus outbreak, consider a virtual fitness class.
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While many gyms and fitness studios have closed, a number of them are offering virtual classes to members and non-members alike to get their sweat on — and while they’re stuck at home.

From bootcamps and barre to yoga and Piloxing (Pilates + boxing, FTW), Classpass offers a plethora of digital classes to choose from. Also, Planet Fitness is currently streaming a ton of workouts via their Facebook page — and those classes are available to non-members free of charge.

Enlist a workout buddy to participate in the class of your choosing, and after streaming it at the same time, catch up over a recovery smoothie or shake via video chat or a phone call.

10. Reach Out To Neighbors.

Nextdoor is a social app for communities that allows you to interact with neighbors by posting discussions, commenting on local news, recommending services and businesses, and sharing opportunities. If you feel out of touch with what’s going on in your community right now, I highly suggest signing up.

In my Boston neighborhood, there have been all kinds of amazing discussions on Nextdoor recently — including one member who planned nightly singalongs of “Sweet Caroline,” and another who offered doorstep delivery of her home-cooked vegan stews. Whether you’re eager to help someone in need by running an errand or need a recommendation for a delivery service, Nextdoor provides a wonderful way to connect with those who live around you.

11. Lend A Helping Hand.

Stumped for how to cope with loneliness during the coronavirus outbreak? Maybe you should delve into some virtual volunteering opportunities.
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You can make a difference right from your own home. Here are some ways to get started:

  • UNV Online Volunteering, which is run by the United Nations, connects volunteers with organizations working for peace and sustainable human development around the world.
  • Volunteer Match links volunteers to virtual opportunities both in their local communities and across the globe.
  • Idealist.org is a valuable tool for finding volunteer opportunities with a nonprofit focus — and you can search by your focus area, schedule and more.
  • DoSomething.org allows you to virtually volunteer for a wide variety of causes, from mental health and homelessness to bullying and the environment.
  • Amnesty Decoders, which is operated by Amnesty International, is a digital volunteer network that helps conduct research into global human rights violations.
  • LiveYourDream.org offers flexible online action opportunities for you to advocate, raise awareness, and participate in a global movement to empower women and girls.
  • Red Cross has an opportunity perfect for people already glued to their phones. It utilizes digital volunteers during times of disaster to monitor online discussions and share important updates on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

If you live by yourself and are self-isolating, then you may be especially prone to loneliness — but even if you have roomies, or live with a partner or family, it’s still entirely understandable if you’re missing the company of classmates, coworkers, neighbors, and friends.

“Humans are social creatures,” says Ruiz. “We are often energized by being around other people and we get support, encouragement, and love from others.”

Melanie Shapiro, a licensed clinical social worker, says the best way to combat loneliness is to stimulate your mind, body, and heart — and reaching out to others to participate in an engaging discussion, game, or activity is a phenomenal way to accomplish that.

According to Suzie Pileggi Pawelski, well-being expert and co-author of HAPPY TOGETHER: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love that Lasts, self-care is also key to enabling healthy and fulfilling connections with loved ones. “We must take care of ourselves in order to better show up for others,” she tells Elite Daily. “It can be a daily yoga or meditation practice. Or it may be going for a run or walk outside, or delving into a good book.”

When loneliness strikes, remember this: social distancing is only a temporary effort. More importantly, you can still be social while staying safe — you just have to get a little creative.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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There Are 3 Types Of Divorced Men – And Only One Is Relationship Material

Not all newly divorced guys are bad news.

Men who are dealing with divorce deserve to be in a relationship as much as anyone else but many women are wary of dating them. What does dating after divorce look like for men?

The divorce process is not easy for anyone. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of being the rebound, you might think that staying away from all newly divorced or recently separated men is the answer to sparing your heart. Some dating advice might even say so.

I get it — I’ve been Rebound Girl myself on more than one occasion. The “It’s not you, it’s me” conversation is never pleasant.

As someone who’s conducted a multi-decade, deep-dive exploration into relationships, dating, and understanding men, I’ve made some observations about newly divorced men — grabbing your sneakers to run from them as fast as you can might actually be a mistake.

And what’s behind this oh-so-common deal-breaker is fear.

Fear of falling for someone hard then getting the rug yanked right out from under you. You’re trying to mitigate heartbreak before it happens and who could blame you for that? (Definitely not yours truly.)

When we’re dating, we’re often dealing with strangers. And when you’re connecting with any stranger, there are no guarantees.

You might be wondering, “Why would a newly divorced or separated guy be dating before he was ready anyways? What’s the deal?”

The answer? Recently separated or divorced men are usually looking for two things: sex and attention. And there’s no faster or efficient way to get sex and attention at the same time than to go out on a date with a delightful and positive person.

But does this mean that a real and lasting connection and a healthy relationship isn’t possible? Nope.

When I met my husband, he was newly separated — five weeks, to be exact. And we’ve been together for years and years.

My BFF and her husband? Six weeks into his separation and now married years and years.

I could keep going on the list of couples I know who got together from his first date after divorce or separation is long — and I mean really long. And they are in successful and healthy relationships.

Now, before you run off to go hang out at the lounge area of your local Marriott Residence Suites, allow me to offer a few observations from my own research.

If you’re looking to date men in their mid-40’s and older, there are 3 types of men and one is totally okay to date and form a relationship with.

1. The one who values his freedom

This guy tried marriage and learned it really wasn’t his cup of tea. He found that marriage was a series of compromises and negotiated collaborations that weren’t worth it in his grand scheme of things.

For him, the delicious and comforting aspects of partnership didn’t make the trade worth the sacrifice.

He enjoys companionship. He craves adventure. And since he loves women, he’s going to work on spending time with as many of them as he can for the rest of his life. When this guy says, “I’m never going to get married again”, believe him.

There is a subset of humans who have unkind things to say about this guy.

I’m not one of them. I think he’s awesome. If he wants to be single, date women, and buy fancy whatevers (cars, boats, etc.) that make him happy, then that’s his business just as long as he’s not making any false promises to the women he dates. (He can promise whatever he wants to his boats.)

2. The one who is not over his failed relationship

When a divorce is sudden and didn’t see it coming, he might be in shock. Or even if he knew it was inevitable long in advance, depending on how he manages the emotional side of his life, it might take him a minute to pull it together and be ready for someone new.

His whole world got rocked and he needs to find his footing again in a new life after divorce.

The hot-mess-divorcee comes on strong. You are the most amazing woman ever! You two get “swept up.” And then he has a moment of clarity, which is when you learn you’re the rebound. It feels like being dropped to the ground from a thousand feet in the air.

So, if this is how it goes, why? Why would smart women like me and my BFF be willing to put ourselves through it over and over with the newly divorced or separated guy when this specific category of dating is so painful?

The answer is easy: Not all men.

3. The one who is ready to date after divorce

You, too, have a shot at meeting the newly detangled guy who says, “Wow, I didn’t think I’d meet you so soon.”

And boom — done!

How can you tell which one you’ve got?

Easy, but it might take a minute.

The “I’m free! I’m free! I’m finally free!” guy will usually tell you before you can ask. He might all but bring a bullhorn to deliver this message on your first date or he’ll say so right there on his online dating profile — “I’m only looking for fun,” “I want to meet new people for adventures,” or “Not looking for anything serious.”

They’ll tell you. Is there room for exceptions? Sure. But you have a whole lot of vetting to do.

The hot mess might be needy, clingy, or overly reminiscent about his past (with his ex or the ex before the ex). You might get the sense he doesn’t see you — at all. When he’s looking at you, he sees a mother, a savior, or the fantasy he’s always wanted.

He might not have a confident sense of self at this point in his life, so he projects onto you. Or you might get to the “We’re dating” part, but you can tell he’s so guarded that he’s not going to let you in or fully commit.

These signs will be obvious if you’re willing to see them for what they are — or it’ll become obvious when he ghosts you because you were the rebound. Alternately, he may take the “showing up but not opening up” path.

I’ve had both, more than once. And if I had been truly honest with myself, I could have caught even the “It takes time because he’s not opening up” ones much faster if I’d been willing to take off the rose-colored glasses and stop making excuses for him.

Keep your eyes wide open, ladies!

Then there’s the “Terrible timing, but it’s you” guys. They both show up and open up. You can count on them to do what they say. They take actions that match their words (in other words, not all talk). They’re not too busy for you. They’re leaning in by calling, texting, and planning fun new adventures with you.

On my second date with my now-husband, I said, “Wow, you’re really great! It’s too bad our timing is so terrible”, referring to his newly separated status.

He replied, “It’s not bad timing for you. The bad timing is on my side. It’s not for you to worry about, it’s mine, I got this.”

Hot, right? I sure thought so.

And there are more hot things to note about this type of newly disentangled guy:

  • He knows how to commit and he’s likely willing to do it again at some point.
  • He likely “grew up” in his marriage and as a result, he’s an upgraded version of himself thanks to his ex and the experiences he had with her
  • He’s realistic about what he needs and what he is able to provide in partnership
  • The fantasy of “happily ever after” without putting in any work is well and truly shattered (good)
  • Bonus points if he has a good relationship with his children: Those little humans have done unspeakable things to and on him, and he still loves and cares for them. (That’s staying power!)

Good men who love partnership will find it again, and often quickly. Most women have this fantasy that a guy will wait, mourn, do inner work, heal, take a few personal growth workshops, wait three years, and then go find his new wife.

But it doesn’t work that way in the real world.

What I see consistently is men connecting with their new forever people either straight away or after the first rebound (or three) when the old wounds aren’t yet entirely healed, ink still not dried (or even inked yet in some cases), but getting there.

These are the men who hold their new person’s hand, and willingly pull them into his future while still doing the work to shake off the past. (Sorry, I don’t create the realities, I just observe them.)

So, what do you think? Still gonna grab your sneakers and run away from the newly disentangled guy as fast as you can? Or are you going to give them a chance?

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Amelia – Chapter 8 – Air Force Reserve and Return

Amelia has been gone gone for 2 weeks because she serves in the Air Force Reserve 2 weeks a year.

On top of her working at the gym on the wrong side of Broad street, getting her certification in personal training, working for Uber in her off hours, and being my number one at the salon, she serves her country.

If you’ve been reading this series about our seasonal hires at the salon you’ve learned quite a bit.

Eileen is the baby, The lovely 18 year old with a steel trap mind, and a sharp wit. She’s lovely and great with the customers. I put her at the front and she’s magic. Eileen deflects all of the customer bullshit and is great at being the perfect actress/hostess to the clients. That’s what I want.

I normally do everything, and its good to know Eileen is my sweet anchor at the counter while I run around and clean beds and manage the laundry.

While Amelia’s been away for two weeks serving her country Eileen has been picking up all of her shifts and has been more than on point. I’m pleased beyond words with my current staff. They’re different but I adore them both and they have been so great this year. We’ve had so much trash roll through here that it’s refreshing to have some sweet young minds that are on point and come in and do the job properly. Achilles is oblivious and bitches about whatever we’ve missed in regard to cleaning, but it’s his ship and that’s his role.

He never sees how bad we get run over by clients. but we just keep hammering on and try to keep the place as clean and tidy as we can.

The air conditioning fails, and the beds overheat, and the system freezes, and we just march on. Tanning people that are ready to look the best they can for what they’re about to do. Weddings, formals, graduations, going down the shore, honeymoon, summer, and skin issues. We do it all and you will all look beautiful in the end. I promise.

I feel like Amelia and I have grown close over our time together. We reveal what’s happening in our lives.

I trust Amelia.

She’s not my hire but we’ve formed an incredible bond. I joke how Eileen is my hire but that’s all bullshit, and I am so pleased with them both.

But while Amelia was away for two weeks, I really missed her presence in my life.

Eileen picked up all of her shifts and was great. I loved working with Eileen and spending time with her at work and beyond. (We’ve had a lot of fun snacks after work together!)

But it felt like Amelia was gone from me longer than she actually was.

I missed my Amelia.

When we work together we have an unspoken energy that runs the salon.

If I do one thing… she does the other.

If I stop doing that thing and do something, she picks up the slack and gets that job done.

I’ve been here for two and a half years and Amelia is my number one.

There’ve been others that have come before at this salon, but Amelia and I really make this place sing.

She just flew in from Okinawa Japan, 2 days ago and here she’s ready for work at 3pm on a Monday, ready to roll.

I was coming out from the back when I first saw her.

Her blonde hair was down and she was wearing a burgundy dress.

As she walked toward me down the hallway, I was so happy to see her. Just to see her lovely face again and her smile made me melt.

She’s so my favorite.

I miss Amelia more than I missed my girlfriend, Cherie.

We hug so tight. God, I missed her.

I’m so relived she’s home. It feels so long I’ve been without her.

Having Amelia back at the salon lets me know that we’re going to survive this season.

My buddy Church has had some recent developments in his life that are amazing and I know he wants to hang and share. He suggests Monday night, but knowing Amelia is just back I tell him Tuesday, because if there’s even the remote chance Amelia can have a snack or a drink with me Monday upon her return, he has to wait.

Tis’ the season, and we get killed at the salon. The air conditioning’s been of the fritz but the boys come to fix it, and we soldier through.

It is non-stop mayhem, but even though Amelia’s been gone for two weeks and is just back, she steps up to the challenge like a pro. We actually trade off duties and Amelia does the job seamlessly.

Amelia and I are a charming, well oiled machine at the salon when we’re being overrun with customers.

They all have to tan before Memorial Day weekend and we have to accommodate.

And accommodate we do.

This is our Christmas season. I will smile, joke and love every person that walks in the door tonight.

Even if they walk in at closing while we mop the floors and carry out the trash.

I know Amelia is exhausted, but we vow to go to Marathon diner for food and drinks to catch up on stories.

We clear everybody out of the salon and cleanse the property.

Amelia is very proactive when it comes to keeping the place clean.

I just want sip a Manhattan with her at Marathon and spend time with her.

So happy she’s back.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

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