Everybody who knows me, knows that my family is my universe. I want to be close to them, hug them, and love them with all my heart. But I am having to adapt to the new normal that this pandemic has created. And you may have as well.
As a doctor, when I get home after a long day of taking care of COVID-19 patients, I isolate myself in my own room, to protect my family from exposure to the virus. I do it for their own safety, and it has not been easy. I used to get sad when I would come home and go right to my room, and close my door. And it always seemed awkward to know that when my children wanted to talk with me, they could only do so through a closed door from outside my room. It has also been especially difficult not eating with my family, as I love and miss the direct interactions with them. For these reasons and more, I was feeling very lonely.
But something else has happened after weeks of my isolation routine.
Something that I didn’t expect.
I am finding this alone time extremely beneficial.
If you are lonely, I want to remind you that you are not alone. Technically, you have you! And really, when was the last time that the world allowed you to spend so much time with yourself!?
For me, I am not feeling lonely anymore. In fact, I feel empowered, and more centered than ever. Though I am only getting four hours of sleep, lol. Aside from not sleeping well, my mindset has fundamentally changed, and I don’t think of being alone as a “bad thing.” Instead, I think of it as an opportunity to get to spend some quality time with myself!
You don’t have to be forced to stay in your room every day like me to realize the value of being alone. If you have spent any alone time lately, you might feel like you are bored. But that is just your mind playing tricks on you.
Let me share two simple things that I have been doing, to keep myself company with myself.
I have always enjoyed reading, but being a doctor of late has taken a lot of my free time. In fact, looking over the past few years, I am realizing that I have not been reading as much as I used to, or would like to. Being alone, in my own home, has given me the gift of time to get back into reading.
It is not easy to start, but once you get a few pages into an exciting book, you might find that you can’t put it down. The point here is to read what excites you. It does not have to be a romance novel, or a best seller, but it should keep your attention. I admit that I have been diving deep into medical research and peer reviewed journals to gain as much insight as I can, to best serve my patients. And to me, these topics keep me turning pages! I challenge you to pick up something, and start reading. Really. Try it.
I made a decision before the pandemic to start to build my personal brand. I have a passion for speaking about health and women’s empowerment, and I know that the more content I create, the more I can share my thoughts with the world. The problem is that I said I would create content, but didn’t! I always had some sort of excuse. There were things around the house that took time. There was cooking dinner for my family. And then there is laundry. The never ending laundry.
But each week I would get excited to write, something would come up and the paper would stay blank.
Now, alone with myself and my thoughts, I have started writing, and the words seem to flow! Give yourself a chance to express yourself in written form, people have been doing it for centuries! Notice that I didn’t say express yourself on social media. I am saying to just enjoy the process of writing, in its purest form.
It does not have to be groundbreaking content, but you will find that the process of writing is quite therapeutic. I am not posting everything that I am writing, nor should you (at first). But I am posting more and more as I develop my writing habits to support better content. If writing is not for you, that is fine. But use your time alone to start on projects that you have wanted to do for a while, but always seem to have an excuse to not start.
The funny thing is that I would have never thought I would be so excited about reading and writing. But these two simple acts have helped me to not only keep myself company, but make me feel like I am becoming more educated, more cultured, and more involved in expressing my thoughts.
I can say that the one thing I have learned from self isolation and quarantine, is that even if I have to be alone, I don’t have to be lonely, and you don’t either.
I do understand that spending time with yourself can feel lonely, especially if you are not used to it. So I suggest that you read a book and/or write something. If you feel like you need some inspiration, tweet me, and I’ll share some of my favorite books and writing prompts!