I’ve been basically home since March 1st, 2020. I have to mention the year because it feels like it’s been going on for MANY years now. I’m a single girl and someone who’s very content being alone. But let me tell you something, quarantine and the fact that there’s no end in sight has caused me to feel more isolated and alone than ever. If you’re taking the virus seriously, as most of my single friends are, it means you’re not really going out to eat, not hanging out inside other people’s homes and most definitely not traveling. Yet I look at a lot of my married friends and they seem to be doing all of those things.
Is it because they don’t care about the virus? Or is it because they have a built-in COVID-Free buddy that they feel comfortable traveling with or eating alongside in a restaurant? I think it’s mostly the latter. At least that’s how it feels to me. I know I have some friends who I spend some time with, socially distanced as best as possible, but we are worried about being too close to one another. Or sitting across from one another at a dinner table even if it’s outside. It’s a wild feeling to have but it’s one we’re all collectively experiencing.
And I get it, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
I know married people are fighting with their spouses, couples are being challenged to live together and on top of one another for the first time and it’s tough. And I am sending all the thoughts and prayers to people with kids and dealing with virtual learning. But you know what? When you tell your single friend “man what I’d do for a day alone” I have no empathy for you. I have had 6 months of being alone. Asking for just a day of what I’m going through is kind of a slap in the face.
My favorite thing my best friend says is “know your audience”, so please, stop telling your single friends how you wish you had their life for just a day. It doesn’t make us feel any better, I promise. Maybe tell me you got divorced over this and now have to join the battle of Bumble. That may work… I AM KIDDING. I hope all my married friends make it through this difficult time, I really really do. But I also think it’s hard to sit back and watch couples live out every dating idea ever published in Cosmo as they strive to make quarantine more interesting.
So yeah, I’m a bit bitter, it’s fine.
Instead, I encourage married and coupled up folks to reach out to your single friends. Ask them to go for a walk, call them on the phone, check in on them. It’s so appreciated. Invite us over to your backyard to hang out and have dinner, or head to the park with a picnic. You have no idea what it does for our daily monotonous lonely routine.
The thing that’s super challenging though I think, is the fact that we don’t see an end in sight. I’ve heard it from many of my single friends how we all were so amped up about 2020 being the year we did all the things. We’d finally find love, we’d finally start the new business or my own personal goal, a 3 month stay in NYC. None of these things are happening and we’re just sitting, alone with the feelings. There’s no end in sight to when we can start to get back to working towards our goals. That’s the part that is so difficult I think for us single gals.
How My Single Friends Are Surviving COVID
I asked some of my favorite single people how they’re dealing with COVID, staying sane and making activities that work for them. Many of my friends prefaced their response to me with, well I don’t know how sane I’ve been, but here’s what I’m trying to do to stay somewhat on top of my feelings. And many had a fear of not meeting someone or dating or getting to fall in love for another year and how that was really hard to face. I will say, most of my single friends are pretty damn awesome, independent and are happy being single. But I think this reality just hit a lot of us hard at one point or another during this. And the isolation is real.
These ladies all had similar tips that I’ve been doing myself from having projects, reading, going for walks and cooking. And yes, I’m sick of all those things as we head into month 6 of this. But it definitely helps to hear it from others that they too might be having hard days and trying to manage as best they can. Here’s what some of them had to say about finding the silver lining, how they’re spending their time and what they’re working through personally.
I’ve been staying energized and sane during COVID with the help of long walks, plus having a meaty new side project to throw my energy into. I started RomComPods — a new fiction podcast — in January and it has been a total lifeline during COVID. Also with one of my best friends as a business partner it’s been a great way for us to stay connected.
I also have a weekly zoom happy hour called “Winedown Wednesday” with 10 of my best friends from college. Everyone lives in different cities across the country. I love having a weekly time in the calendar for us all to chat.
I’m staying preoccupied with my art, baking and cooking, planning little things to look forward to, or giving a theme to the weekend evenings (usually involving takeout). I’m also setting little goals like workout every day for a month. I’ve definitely read more in the last few months than I usually do all year, and that’s something I’d like to keep up with.
The silver lining for me is that I get to spend so much time with my dog, and I talk to long distance girlfriends a lot more now. I think it’s hard to accept that I just won’t be dating the rest of the year, but it’s not forever. And I will definitely never take going out and socializing for granted EVER again.
The things that have kept me sanest have been little things I make sure I do every day: making a big coffee, meditating (I use the Headspace app and really love it), daily workouts with Melissa Wood Health (they are short, sweet, and effective!), and long walks while doing an audiobook. I have also been doing themed movie nights/weeks… this week I’m all about 80s movies!
In terms of a silver lining, honestly, I’ve never felt better about not having children. Does that sound awful? I could not even imagine having children right now and trying to homeschool them (or with a smaller child), not having a nanny while balancing work. I do not envy my friends with kids!
To be truthful, I haven’t been my sanest, happiest self by a long shot ha! However, I think the summer weather has made a huge difference. Not that I can control it, but in Chicago, it’s all about the nicer weather. Having the chance to “escape” for a simple walk for coffee or go to the farmer’s market – coming up with a new routine to make things feel “normal” again.
At the beginning I made a few care packages to drop at friend’s doors. I could still fulfill my want to bake and create something without eating it all on my own! Since then, I’ve been sending out cards to friends who live afar and just picking up the phone more for phone calls and the occasional FaceTime. Over the last few months, I’ve also seen the same 3-4 girls and we set up time to do things like visit the farmer’s market, play tennis or just meet up for wine and snacks on someone’s patio.
Being single during COVID is rough, especially when you live alone (and in NYC!). The first couple of months were definitely the most challenging for me to get through, but now I feel like I’ve gotten into a new routine. I started running consistently last month and it’s honestly the main thing keeping me sane and energized. I also start my mornings with a workout – even just 15 minutes – to get me moving and start my day. It’s helped so much with my anxiety. I know that running is not for everyone, so even taking long walks can be great.
I think the silver lining for me is the time COVID has given me that I didn’t have before. I’ve been able to reevaluate so much in my life and uncover certain areas that I need to work on within myself. I’ve been on this new journey of self-care right now and if it weren’t for COVID I don’t think I would have made these changes just yet. I’ve really been trying to embrace being single during this time and focus on taking better care of myself. I actually deleted all of my dating apps at the moment so that I can get into a better headspace.
Things To Do To Stay Positive + Connected As A Single Girl During Covid
It’s clear there are some really great ways to stay busy, stay connected and feel less alone right now. Here are some that I’m doing as well as my amazing single friends that they shared with me.
- Reading more! Here’s what I read in 2020 so far. Grace also has an amazing resource of books she’s reviewed here that I love to reference when picking my next read.
- Trying new recipes and bonus points for having a theme!
- Front porch hangs, everyone brings a dish to enjoy. Or try a themed night or host a fun brunch.
- Walks, walks, walks. And listen to a podcast when you do. May I suggest Becca’s RomComPod?
- Working out. It not only makes you feel better, but takes up a decent chunk of time of the day. Here are some favorites for an at home workout.
- Finding the silver lining. If you have to write it down daily (I love this five-minute journal) that really helps to keep a positive outlook.
- Connect with friends more via FaceTime, Zoom or walks! Plan it and stick to it!
- Grace and Katie mentioned they’re sending little gifts to friends to show them she’s thinking of them. So thoughtful! I gotta step up my friend game!
- Start a project. Maybe launch that print shop finally, or like my friend Meg who’s focusing more on her art, or Becca and her podcast, or me and my new website launch. A project keeps you busy and looking forward. And at the end of this (if there ever is an end), you’ll have accomplished something!
How are you coping with quarantine?
Photo by Hannah Lozano