“Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive.” ~Jamais Cascio
The pandemic has forced us to avoid people, self-isolate, and keep to ourselves.
It might seem like you’re in a position where you don’t have many options. You can’t freely hang out with your friends. You can’t have fun like you used to. Your dating and socializing opportunities are limited. These setbacks can bring to the fore feelings of loneliness, deepen the longing for relationships, and highlight your innate desire for connection.
I know how easy it is to get sucked into a hole of despair, loneliness, and paralysis and to wait for better times to come.
I am not single now, but my life has forced me to embrace being single in the past. I formerly spent ten years trying to find love online. I created lots of drama, frustration, and pain for myself. I reached the point of emotional exhaustion and needed to rebuild my sense of self and find my own power again. I then went on a dating detox for two years and never looked back.
During this time, I focused entirely on creating an amazing relationship with myself. I learned how to hold, support, and provide for myself. I learned how to enjoy being single. I embraced feeling lonely and learned how to soothe my uncomfortable emotions.
All of the methods and techniques I’ve shared below helped me find the inner resources for a better and more fulfilling life as a single.
As a deep believer in the saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” I encourage you to turn within to find your resilience. Stop waiting and start thriving now.
Since finding love might be slightly more difficult right now, use this time to learn more about yourself, deepen your relationship with yourself, and befriend your loneliness.
Ultimately, we are the architect of our own destiny. We all have the power to decide how we want to feel and what actions we need to take to thrive rather than just survive. If you take these actions, you’ll end up stronger, clearer, and more empowered.
Here are a few suggestions on how you can use this pandemic to your benefit:
1. Be gentle with yourself.
You have valid reasons to be all over the place emotionally right now. One day, things might look bright and easy. On another day, you might feel down and demotivated. Recognize it. Acknowledge it. Have compassion for yourself. Don’t expect too much of yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Let’s face it: these are unprecedented times. You need to adjust your expectations of yourself to the current circumstances. It’ll feel hard and challenging at times. Allow it all. Without judgment. It is what it is, and you’re doing your best.
Take it one day at a time. Have a plan or structure in place every day if that helps you keep going. If the going gets tough, take care of yourself and prioritize your well-being. Through meditation and mindfulness, you can reduce your anxiety and loneliness, find blessings in every day (no matter how boring and limited it may be), and increase your joy and contentment.
2. Befriend your loneliness.
Have a date with your loneliness. Let’s call it your “Silence & Solitude Session.” You can do it when you’re having your morning coffee or smoothie, or whenever you feel overwhelmed by loneliness. Just sit down, turn off all distractions (like your phone), and be present with your feelings.
Find the feeling of loneliness in your body. Feel how warm or cold it is. What color it is. What shape it is. Explore why you feel the way you feel. What triggered this feeling? What is the thought behind this feeling? Does your loneliness have any message for you?
Treat it like a wave of energy going through your body—energy that wants to be released and transmuted. Like every wave, it comes and goes. Every feeling is transient. No emotion lasts forever. Eventually, they all pass, and much more quickly if you stop resisting and judging them.
If you prefer to shift your feelings by doing something physical, just drop everything and dance, exercise, or go for a hike. Even a quick cleaning session around the house can quickly change your state by moving the energy. By the end of your exploration, your loneliness won’t have as much power over you.
When I became intimate with my own loneliness, it didn’t paralyze me as much or feel as scary. I was able to embrace it, release it, and find peace and comfort in solitude.
3. Take care of your inner child.
Whenever you feel flat, sad, angry, or frustrated, sit down, close your eyes, and connect with your inner child to help give them what they need.
You might see them. You might feel them. Get closer to them. Spend a few moments being, chatting, and playing with them.
When you feel like it’s the right moment, ask them what they need right now. Give them space and wait for the answers. The answers will flow, and you might be surprised by what they are. Then you can reassure them that you’re always there for them and want to fulfill their needs.
When I did this exercise during a particularly lonely period, I recognized that my inner child needed more fun and connection. She felt lonely because I’d been neglecting her and ignoring her need for play.
If your inner child also feels smothered by life’s busyness and seriousness, let them out and engage in fun, playful activities. Have a fancy dance party (invite your friends over Zoom!). Have a karaoke session and sing at the top of your lungs. Get dirty with paints or clay. Grab a box of markers and paper and draw how you feel.
Let them express themselves through creativity. It doesn’t matter what you create or what it looks like in the end. The process of playing and creating will do the healing.
4. Use social media to create connection, not to numb yourself.
Limit your social media time and use it with intent. Facetime friends, connect with your family, reach out to friends you haven’t spoken with for years and check out how they’re doing. Be creative. Maybe a cooking session with a friend over Zoom or a dinner with a sibling using WhatsApp.
These interactions are priceless. They’ll give you a sense of connection and boost your mood. Mindlessly scrolling through FB or Instagram stories won’t. It can create the opposite effect. Often it can make you feel even more isolated and feeling like you don’t belong. It can trigger “comparisonitis”—the feeling that you’re falling behind on your goals/projects when compared to others you see online. It will only bring you down.
Examine what triggers you to grab your phone, how often, when, and what feelings you try to numb by scrolling through social media without purpose. Then find healthier ways to address your emotions—for example, doing something fun if you’re bored or journaling if you’re feeling down on yourself.
You’ll stop wasting so much time, and you’ll have more of it to explore new things that bring you joy and pleasure. Perhaps deleting certain apps from your phone is a good idea. Or designating certain times per day for social media rather than doing it whenever you feel like it. Experiment and see what changes in your life.
5. Spend time in nature.
You might recognize the healing power of nature but limit yourself to indoor activities because it’s easier, or because it’s cold outside. But even in the colder months, nature can bring you comfort. It can uplift you. It can help you cleanse your energy and emotions. It can inspire you and give you insights, whether it’s a brisk walk in a nearby park or just stepping outside into your garden barefoot.
Feel the ground, grass, sand, or even snow, depending on what’s available where you are. Look up into the sky. Listen to the trees. Pause for a moment and be present with what is present. Deep breathing while being present will help you oxygenate your body and get the energy flowing.
If you’re more adventurous, why not travel to a new location and explore something new? Find a forest or national reserve. Pack a sandwich or two and enjoy exploring a new place. Spending a day surrounded by nature will fill your soul up and refresh you mentally. It will move the stagnant energy and bring some new inspiration.
6. Keep your vision alive.
I know you needed to put everything on hold, and little is available at the moment. Some of your plans needed to change. Some projects got suspended. But please don’t let your dreams and your vision die inside of you. The pandemic is temporary. You can use the extra time you have to deepen and clarify your dreams and goals or find your purpose.
Keep drawing your vision of your future in your mind daily. Take a few minutes each day to create your future. Grab your journal or just sit for a moment and reconnect with your dreams. Review your aspirations. Revisit your goals. Check in with yourself and see what’s still important, what you want to let go of, and what new plans you have.
Here are a few journal prompts to get you going:
- Has anything changed in terms of your dreams and goals?
- Do you still want the same things?
- What do you want?
- What is not important anymore?
- What new things do you want to create?
7. Re-evaluate your relationships.
Use this time to re-evaluate your relationships, standards, and boundaries.
If you dare to be honest with yourself and see how you’ve contributed to your mistakes and poor choices in love, you can draw lessons and strength from them—and avoid unnecessary frustration, heartache, and drama in the future.
Take some time to identify what you want and don’t want in your next relationship and what you don’t want to compromise on. This will help you become the best version of yourself and attract the right kind of partner with your powerful energy and uncompromised standards and values.
Here are some journaling prompts to help you uncover your strengths and give you more clarity:
- What have you learned about yourself from your previous relationships?
- How have you become stronger as a result of your previous relationships?
- In what way have the previous relationships prepared you for success in your next one?
- What are you not available for anymore?
- What will you do differently in your next relationship?
When I did this exercise while single, I recognized that I was an extreme overgiver and I had no boundaries. No wonder I felt drained after every relationship and needed time to recover. I put some new boundaries in place and balanced my people-pleasing tendencies, and that enabled me to attract true love.
When you apply the points above, you might improve your relationship with yourself and start enjoying being single more. You’ll also be more ready for successful dating when dating becomes easier. When you get yourself through tough times, you have a new appreciation for yourself, a stronger sense of self, and more clarity about what you’re available and not available for.
This will, like nothing else, positively affect your future romantic choices, who you date, and who you allow into your life.
There is some higher purpose to this isolation. Use this time to strengthen yourself so you can be ready for expansion in every area of your life once we’re on the other side of the pandemic.
About Aska Kolton
Aska Kolton is the creator of the Dating Detox Revolution. She empowers single women who are exhausted with dating or drained from unfulfilling relationships to take time out to rebuild their self-love and confidence, so they thrive in life and feel happy, whole, and worthy within before they look for love again. You can join her Facebook Group here. Get her "Happy, Whole and Worthy" Audio Guide HERE.