How to manage loneliness on Valentine’s Day during the pandemic

This yr’s Valentine’s Day, like different holidays, will really feel totally different. Nonetheless, we are able to nonetheless have a good time with out feeling misplaced. We might get down on ourselves if we discover ourselves single on February 14, remind ourselves it is going to be over quickly, and take a look at for now, not to crawl in a dismal gap.

These emotions can turn into protracted and tougher to manage in a pandemic the place lockdowns and quarantines make ruminating and downward thought spirals that a lot simpler to interact in and assembly new individuals that rather more difficult. Listed below are 4 methods to show you how to manage your loneliness and put your life in perspective during this difficult time.

Improve your self-worth whereas alone

The pandemic has afforded you this once-in-a-lifetime, prolonged alternative to develop the relationship that’s the basis of your entire different relationships, together with your relationship along with your future life associate: your relationship with your self.

Most of us keep away from this relationship in any respect prices. A study by College of Virginia social psychologist Timothy Wilson discovered that folks would slightly be given uncomfortable electrical shocks than to do nothing in any respect. Wilson’s analysis comports with a Blaise Pascale quote: “All of humanity’s issues stem from man’s incapacity to sit quietly in a room alone.”

It might be useful to reframe this grueling remoted interval as a possibility to join with and perceive your self. You should use this time to reassess and renew what you most worth earlier than making a momentous life choice, like getting married.

You can also make the choice to use this solo time to make a way more considerate and profound selection about how you want to dwell when you nonetheless have the likelihood.

Flip loneliness into solitude

Loneliness is a detrimental, distressing emotion that you simply really feel if you want your relationships have been extra strong and significant than they’re. In case you think about your self “lesser than” as a result of you haven’t but discovered your life associate, so might be your self-opinion when married. The internal demons you’ve ignored will go to you often like unwelcome apparitions and affect the high quality of your marriage.

Therefore, if you’re lonely now as a single individual, so will you be lonely as a married individual. This fact will help us to perceive the title of Alice Walker’s We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Nobody will come alongside and prevent out of your loneliness.

Solely it can save you your self—by doing the internal work to remodel your loneliness (a detrimental, distressing emotion related to being alone) into solitude (a optimistic, strengthening emotion related to being alone). That’s appropriate: it’s not being alone that causes loneliness—it’s the way you interpret being alone.


Equate alone time to development time

Like all different detrimental feelings, loneliness is an internal signal to make a change in your life. As the British instructional psychologist Pamela Qualter discovered, it prompts a “reaffiliation motive” to develop extra significant relationships with others.

Sound good? Not so quick. As College of Arizona administration professor Allison Gabriel discovered in a recent study, loneliness can act as a optimistic supply of motivation to reengineer how we strategy {our relationships}—however provided that now we have the self-confidence to consider in our means to create optimistic adjustments in our lives.

Therefore, if you’re feeling lonely and doubting your means to create the relationships you need, believing which you could is half the battle. The stronger, extra resilient you that may emerge if you actually internalize this perception will entice others to interact with you. It is because of this that the phrase “confidence” is derived from the Latin roots for “with” (con) and “belief” (fidere). For others to have “belief with” (confidence in) you, you have to first have belief with your self (self-confidence). And this additionally leads us to my last suggestion.

Make considerate, less-digital connections

The opposite half of the battle is to make considered selections about how you’ll allocate your effort and time devoted to socialization. Regardless of the myriad guarantees to the opposite, texting or emailing hardly ever fosters significant relationships.

A 2012 study led by Leslie Seltzer at the College of Wisconsin, for example, discovered that cellphone calls can approximate in-person interactions in decreasing cortisol (the stress hormone) and stimulating oxytocin (a neuropeptide related to bonding and affection).

Seltzer discovered that emails and texts, nevertheless, have just about no impact on these neurochemicals so crucial for human bonding. It is because of this that we go online searching for social connection and find yourself with solely social data.

Whereas social connection is one of the most important buffers against loneliness, social data solely compounds it. Why? As a result of we solely see the synthetic, meticulously curated variations others want to current to us. It ought to be no shock that a 2013 study by Humboldt University of Berlin, surveying 584 Fb customers in Germany, discovered that the most typical reported emotion amongst customers is envy.

So, like each different difficult emotion you’ll ever expertise in your life, the solely method out of the loneliness you could be feeling as Valentine’s Day approaches is thru. Embrace your loneliness as a name to motion to revitalize the way you strategy your relationships—together with and principally your relationship with your self—and it’ll have served its objective in your life.

Anthony Silard, PhD is a world-renowned management educator and coach. His new e-book, Screened In: The Art of Living Free in the Digital Age, was launched in 2020. Study extra about Anthony and his work at