Keeping in Touch With the Outside World (and Making the Best of a Tough Situation)
Being unable to socialise with friends and family
Finding yourself widowed and perhaps living on your own for the first time in a long while and getting used to a new way of life without your late partner, will be hard. Then, suddenly being unable to socialise with friends and family because of the current situation, means there is the potential for the grieving process to become all the more difficult. This period of uncertainty, especially with such stringent social distancing measures in place, can increase the likelihood of feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Having to keep our distance and avoid contact with others can make us want to be with our loved ones even more. Ensuring you establish a regular point of contact with close friends and family, either by messaging, video or phone call, will give you something to anticipate and look forward to. Admittedly, this is no substitute for seeing them in person; however, there’s nothing like hearing a familiar voice to help lift the spirits.
Keeping in touch with the outside world
Long term isolation can have a profound effect on mental health and wellbeing, which is why it’s important to monitor your state of mind and ensure you’re keeping in touch with the outside world (albeit in a somewhat remote sense). Listening to music, talk radio shows, radio plays, etc. can be a great distraction if you’re feeling unsettled.
Staying updated with the latest news headlines is important, but resist the urge to keep scrolling the news feed on your smart phone, as this is likely to perpetuate feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.
Chat online with other widows and widowers
If you had recently decided to reach out to other widows and widowers with a view to making friends and maybe even finding love again, don’t be discouraged by the current state of affairs. Just because you’re unable to meet in person at the moment, doesn’t mean to say that you can’t chat online and establish a good rapport via direct messaging etc. Connecting with others who find themselves in a similar situation to you, could help allay feelings of loneliness and when the current situation improves there will be plenty of opportunity to get to know each other better.
If you had previously linked up with other widows and widowers, via a local support or meet-up group, try to keep in touch with any members who had become part of your network. This will not only be to your benefit, but will likely help others who might also be struggling to get through this challenging time.
The importance of maintaining a sense of purpose
It is important to feel like you have a sense of purpose, which is why it’s vital to keep yourself occupied when you’re at home and unable to go out. If you’re working from home, make sure you set up a suitable workspace, which is both comfortable and conducive to productivity.
This could also be a perfect opportunity to consider a new hobby of some kind or to get started on a thought journal, recording your experiences during this time. If you’re fortunate enough to have a garden, and the weather permits, use the time to do some weeding or plan your herbaceous border. Cooking and baking are also great past times, providing you’re able to get your hands on all of the ingredients! If you’re living with children, you can get them involved too, as a bit of light relief from their study or home-schooling timetable.
Keeping well and physically active
Make sure you factor in some regular exercise, even if it’s just a brisk walk in the park or local green space. Some yoga stretches would also be beneficial. Keeping physically active is extremely important for maintaining both mental and physical health. We are encouraged to get some exercise and fresh air on a daily basis – as long as we keep ourselves separate from others. Online resources providing guided meditations and exercise routines can be a good starting point.
These uncertain times are quite unlike anything we have experienced before, but the thing to remember is that you’re not alone and sometimes the most difficult events can bring about a new perspective on life. Above all, remember to be kind to yourself! You’re allowed to feel sad and although it might not seem like it at this moment, there will be light at the end of the tunnel. If you’re struggling to get through this period, just remind yourself of how strong you have been up until this point and don’t be afraid to reach out to others if you feel the need to do so.