How to deal with loneliness during social isolation

Suddenly working and living from home might make you lonely. Here's how to handle dark feelings.

Fingers crossed you're in a mindset and space where dealing with loneliness during social isolation isn't a problem you're facing.

But if you are struggling with feeling lonely and isolated, The Coaching Institute's Sharon Pearson has solid advice to combat your isolation.

"There was a study done a while back and they put the participants into a room on their own," says Sharon.

"There was a buzzer, and they were told they were going to be in a room alone, but didn't know how long for."

The people could press the buzzer if they felt lonely but were told it would give them an electric shock.

"Within 15 minutes over 70 per cent of participants in the study had begun pressing the button. So this research shows 70 per cent of people would rather feel pain than to sit with themselves."

And that's the power and pain of loneliness during social isolation.

Sharon has been there with loneliness. 17 years ago, before she became a coach, she would "just have dark thoughts for days. I could 'Darth Vader' my entire life," she says.

She would have arguments "for hours" in her head with herself over the validity of the "doom and gloom" thoughts: "I'd make myself laugh but I'd also realise the nature of how little control I was demonstrating on my mind."

Sharon finally broke the cycle by catching herself going to the dark side and replacing it with the next stage, "which was productive loving."

She wrote paragraphs out of a book "full of amazing ways of looking at a the world", which introduced her to accessing "kind, compassionate" language.

"So I'd write it out and every time I went to the dark side, if I remembered to catch myself, I'd pull out my card and read it to myself.

"I remember thinking, 'That's bullshit, I don't believe it, the world's not that good.' The I'd try to read it again until I could read a paragraph of something kind without me arguing with it."

Affirming your own worth and that there are beautiful things and thoughts can help with loneliness during social isolation.

For Sharon, other strategies also help.

Right now, "I’m being productive, exercising and doings things like this video because I don't need to be consumed with how I'm filling my day," she says.

Laughing, she says her advice might not be helpful if you're at home with kids and craving a single moment alone.

"Perhaps that needs to be another video!"

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