The pandemic of 2020 has been a new and scary experience. With the real risk of getting Coronavirus, self-quarantine and social distancing have been the best ways to stay safe. However, this type of isolation can be hard on everyone. While we did have down time, most of us still had a host of responsibilities to manage under stress and anxiety. Some of us were dealing with managing relationships in close quarters while others suddenly found themselves very alone.

Extra time to one’s self can offer many benefits, such as self-reflection and time to relax. However, many people are feeling isolation fatigue, which has caused an increase in feelings of loneliness and depression. Although people are getting tired of staying at home, the pandemic leaves little option for those feeling isolated.

As more people are becoming aware of the mental and emotional effects of the pandemic, solutions are being formed. People are reaching out in creative ways and finding new hobbies. If you need a few ideas to lighten the mood in isolation, here are five unique methods you can try.

1. Find a Way To Be Social

Although social gatherings can be dangerous, there are many ways to connect with people online. Video services such as Zoom and Skype have made it easier to have digital gatherings. Call friends, have family meetings or attend school through video chat. You can also look for cultural events that are being streamed digitally such as music events or festivals. And don’t feel reluctant to reach out to friends, family or even colleagues. Many people will welcome a chance to connect over text or a phone call.

2. Go the Old-Fashion Way

Before smartphones and laptops spread across the world, people found different ways to stay in touch. If you have had a technology overload, consider writing a letter or note to loved ones. This is a great activity to do on a lazy day, and it can lift others who are struggling with isolation. Nursing home residents have found great solace in reading letters and cards that volunteers have written anonymously to cheer them up.  If you start getting bored, find some projects around that house that you can work on.

3. Be Mindful

This is a perfect time to get reflective and focus on yourself. Avoid negative thoughts and self-talk, especially if the influence of others has been lessened with social restrictions. You need to be your own best friend, so get some good vibes going and enjoy spending time with yourself. Yoga is a great way to exercise both the body and the mind. Focus on gratitude and practice being optimistic when facing hard times.

 4. Explore the Outdoors

When you get sick of indoor activities, get some fresh air. As long as you stay socially distanced and wear a face mask, you can enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Go hammocking, have a picnic or go on a nearby hike. Go camping with your family or start growing your own garden. Vitamin D can be a great asset since it battles fatigue and you can appreciate the nature around you. Even driving to a new neighborhood to take walks in different scenery can be a lot of fun and break up the monotony of isolation.

5. Have a Schedule

If anything, try to keep a consistent schedule. This will help you stay productive and give your mind something to focus on. Wake up at a reasonable time and exercise to get your blood pumping. No matter what your plan is, it can be an anchor in a sea of chaos.

In any situation, isolation can be hard to endure. During the pandemic, do all you can to stay mentally and emotionally healthy as you battle the feelings and experiences of isolation. Find ways to reach out and use this time to take care of yourself.