As I write this article, the city in which I currently live — Melbourne, Australia — is still in a Stage 4 lockdown. It has generally been a frustrating, depressing and lonely time. Each day feels like Groundhog Day, as I wake up each morning and sit in front of my computer for another day of videoconference calls and endless tasks. Sometimes I am very productive and complete my work efficiently but at other times, it all feels like too much of an effort.
I have tried to get into a routine for my physical and mental health — regular walks outside, daily meditation and Pilates or yoga. Some days, I complete this routine effortlessly. On other days, I am lucky to do just one of these activities.
But the one thing that gets me out of bed in the mornings, is knowing that the life I am living now, is not forever. Sometime in the future, the pandemic will be over and we will enjoy our freedom again. Social distancing, masks and lockdowns will be things of the past.
Knowing that this difficult time is only temporary makes me realise that I need to see the silver lining in this situation. Like so many other people, I have had to spend a lot of time at home alone. In the past, I would have hated being on my own so much, but over time, I have realised that I don’t mind my own company at all. In fact, I actually enjoy it and find it calming, peaceful and refreshing.
Before the lockdown in Melbourne, I was always busy and socialising even if it exhausted me. The lockdown has given me the opportunity to slow down and finally appreciate my own company — meditating, journaling, thinking, watching my favourite shows and reading books.
In the past, I always felt like I needed to socialise and have friends around me. While I do still really appreciate the people in my life and friendships, I have come to realise that we can all benefit from being alone at times.
The benefits of being alone
To me, the upsides of solitude are:
· Being able to think clearly.
· Learning about what makes you happy and fulfilled.
· Not being so dependent on others to make you happy.
· Being comfortable doing activities on your own outside, like seeing a movie or going out for a meal.
· A chance to do that creative activity or hobby you’ve always been meaning to do.
As hard as the lockdown has been (and still is), I have learnt that being alone is not so bad and in fact, can be excellent for fostering good mental health (as long as you don’t spend all your time alone).
Post lockdown life
When life starts returning to normal, I will still see my friends and hope to make new ones but I want to continue enjoying blissful solitude, whether it’s at the beach enjoying the view, reading a book or simply just lying on the couch doing absolutely nothing.