Coronavirus: Living alone

Thursday 11 March 2021
  • Coronavirus
  • Managing emotions

We're all now more hopeful that in the weeks and months to come lockdown will be lifted and restrictions eased. But if you're living alone and still shielding you may be feeling isolated. We asked our Psychologist, Cara, to answer some of your questions about how to make living alone during the pandemic that little bit easier.

I haven't seen my friends and family for so long and I’m feeling lonely. What can I do to feel more like myself?

Humans are social beings, so it’s really tough when we can’t see friends and family and it’s understandable that you’re feeling lonely.

Sometimes it can help to give ourselves a daily routine as our minds and bodies like the certainty of a pattern.

Try to stay connected with family and friends through phone calls, video calls and emails. Sometimes a chat with a familiar friend can make all the difference. There are also various online quizzes and games that you could do together.

Find out whether your Maggie’s is running a virtual kitchen table, which could offer you an opportunity to meet others in a similar situation to yourself. Give them a ring to find out dates and times.

To help you feel more like yourself, it may be an idea to plan small activities you enjoy, within government guidelines. If you feel low in mood as well as lonely then think of the activities that you used to enjoy.

Taking part in enjoyable activities and those which give us a sense of achievement can help to boost mood, motivation levels and help you to feel more like yourself.

Finally, try to manage your expectations throughout all of this. Living through a pandemic, unable to see friends and family and not having access to our usual coping strategies is incredibly challenging.

We can all try our best to manage the variety of feelings that we’re experiencing but it is unlikely that you will stop missing family and friends because these people are important to you.

Try to remind yourself that the difficult circumstances that we all find ourselves in will end and we will come out the other side.

I’m supposed to be shielding but I find it difficult to get food shopping in. What are my options?

We know this is a real concern for many people.

Remember that all the major supermarkets offer online shopping. If you let them know you’re shielding when you place your order, they can ensure your food is delivered safely.

Or do you know someone who could collect food and other essentials for you, a friend or neighbour perhaps? If you do, then most major supermarkets are now selling e-vouchers or gift cards online, which makes it much easier for the person shopping on your behalf.

Many local communities also have volunteer organisations that can help with essential shopping and delivery if you are unable to get to the shops yourself. Ask your nearest Maggie’s for more information about which charities might be able to help in your area.

If you don’t fancy cooking, and let’s face it we all need a day off from time to time, then you could treat yourself to your favourite takeaway or a home-delivered ready-meal. It can be a real treat not to have to cook.

I live alone and I used to enjoy going into Maggie’s to see people. How can I still stay in touch with the centre team and friends I’ve made?

Maggie’s doors are open. If you’re nearby, or have a hospital visit on-site, then do feel free to pop in. If you’re not nearby then you can always email or pick up the phone to your nearest Maggie’s for some support.

All our centres are running virtual sessions including relaxation, which would be suitable for most people. There are also more online groups that you will find specifically suited to you. Just contact your nearest Maggie’s to find out more about what’s on offer online.

And why not get involved with a Maggie’s fundraising event? Sometimes having a common goal can help people to feel connected. There are many different ways you can take part. Have a look at our website for inspiration.

How Maggie's can help

We're here in our centres, on the phone and by email if you have questions or to talk about the challenges of living alone when you have cancer.

Find your nearest Maggie's to get details of how to get in touch.