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How Solo People Cope in Isolation

Learning to live in isolation is something many of us have had to do in the past few months. Some have coped better than others but for us all, it’s a challenge.

Many people, women in particular, had already learned how to live in isolation before Covid-19 started. It doesn’t make it any worse, and it doesn’t make it any easier.

If you live solo all the time, you would think lockdown would not present much of a problem, but it does.

Not being able to see other people. Missing our families, especially children and grandchildren. Being unable to “talk it through” with anybody.

For some, especially the elderly, the only person they may see during a week is the person delivering their food… from a suitable social distance of 2 metres (6 feet).

Some years ago, I volunteered with the Red Cross and part of my daily routine became a system called Telecross. Designed specifically for older people on their own who never saw anyone from one day to the next, it was at least an attempt at solving the problem of isolated older folks.

It was a part-solution to finding yourself in isolation and was just the type of service that would be very useful today. Especially now that we are existing in a pandemic, there are a lot of lonely people in the world.

Coping with Isolation

How you survive isolation is up to you. However, choosing to take a proactive approach is vital if you’re not going to collapse in a crumpled heap.

You know, simply having a shouted conversation across a deserted road can do the trick. You’re never really alone, but please make sure you are allowed out for exercise.

The most important thing we all need to do, living in isolation or a pandemic, is to learn to live with oneself. It’s something I believe should be towards the top of everyone’s list. It’s like learning to love yourself… if you can do one, you can do the other.

Learning to live and love yourself will ensure that living in isolation never presents a problem, and in order to do both those things, you must first like yourself.

A Few Suggestions for Overcoming Your Isolation

Walk Your Dog (Or Someone Else’s Dog)

If you have a canine pet, walking them is probably the delight of their day – and yours.

Don’t have a dog? Drop a note through a letterbox offering to do this for someone you know has health issues. You can have a socially distanced chat at their door, and you can chat with the dog, too.

Most people are more sociable if you’re with a dog so again, be prepared for shouted conversations. This is a win-win for everybody. Including the dog.

Pick Up the Phone and Call People

Have a chat or go mad and use Zoom so you can see everybody. Perhaps there are friends you don’t see very often or family you rarely talk to. Try to set up a weekly call.

Prepare for the call by dressing and doing your hair and even wearing makeup. Treat it as an Event. Because it is, and you must make the most of it…

Have a Socially Distanced Conversation with the Food Delivery People

If you are lucky enough to be having food delivered, nearly all the delivery people, often schoolchildren, are happy to chat. Again, treat it as an Event.


Grab a hairbrush, put on something you love and sing your heart out. Keep smiling and don’t forget, turn it into an Event.


Whether you can or not – dance! Nobody will see you. Sing and dance at the same time. Smile.

Start Something New That Excites You

It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it makes you smile and has you looking forward to doing it. Perhaps fall in love with Decoupage – something I really enjoy! If you’d like any tips, let me know.


If you don’t have a garden-garden, garden in pots. If you don’t have any pots, create some from such things as milk cartons. Decorate what you create and don’t forget holes in the bottom for drainage!

No compost or potting mix? Have it delivered with your food.

Talk to Yourself!

Some of my best conversations are with myself. I say what I want, and nobody corrects me or dislikes what I say. I’ve reached a stage at which I actually catch myself muttering in the supermarket.

Keep a Journal

Once you start writing, you never know what will fall out. Keep writing and you may even come up with a novel you didn’t know was there. Write for yourself but engage with your writing.

Whatever happens… keep writing. Especially on those days when you have trouble putting pen to paper or are unable to type. Writing is cathartic.

Do a Stock Take and Realise How Wonderful You Are

This is something we should do whether we’re in isolation or not, and we should do it every week. Even if you’re on your own, you’re still accomplishing things, and you must REWARD yourself for everything you do.

Do All Those Things You Wish You Could

Whatever you yearn for, maybe it’s a glorious month in Tuscany, put yourself in gear and start putting it together. You may not be able to do it for a while, but you will do it… eventually.

Stick the details, including the images, where you can see them and start dreaming.

Get Creative!

There are so many, many things you can do to cope in isolation and it really is a case of using your imagination which is probably dying to get out.

Remember, you have created your life and although the pandemic isn’t what you had in mind (did anybody?), it’s here, and we have to learn to deal with it as best we can. You’re not alone.

Of course, you can always spend your time binge-watching Netflix or DVDs, but if you’re struggling, a little exercise such as a walk in the fresh air or even a routine on YouTube is a great help. Or even involving yourself in reading or sewing or whatever else takes your fancy.

Hopefully, some of my suggestions will help you move in a direction of your choosing, and if you have other ideas (which I know you do!), please share some with us. Send us some suggestions.

Have you been living along pre-pandemic? How did you cope with isolation then? What is different in your world now? What suggestions do you have for someone living alone to battle the blues? Please share them below!

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The Author

Penelope Jane Whiteley is the self-appointed Queen of Aging Disgracefully. A writer, international speaker, clothes designer, stylist and traveller, she helps other women to live their lives on their own terms. Her courses include “Lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes,” “The Reboot,” “Just Write the Damn Book.” Find her on, Twitter, and Facebook.

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