Dealing with Isolation
It’s a strange world we’re living in. This pandemic has had more of an impact on society than anything else in recent memory. It’s affected every country, every city, every individual in some way. Probably the biggest impact is that it has fragmented society, breaking up large gatherings like concerts and parties, and kept people isolated from each other.
For creative people, this can be a mixed blessing. I think it’s safe to say that a large number of us are introverts, or if you’re like me, an introvert at heart. I kinda like being alone with my thoughts, letting all those ‘what if?’ scenarios play out in my imagination. Spending more time alone gives me more time to write, to brainstorm, to explore and experiment. In fact, over the past few months I’ve been more productive than ever before.
But I know that hasn’t been the same result for everyone. Isolation can also be detrimental. Some people need at least a little human interaction to maintain their sanity. I get it. Personally, I’m okay with FaceTime and WebX, texting and phone calls, but I’ll admit it’d be nice to sit around with some friends, have a few drinks, and enjoy some good conversation. Face-to-face conversations allow for better interaction, there’s body language involved and less lag to deal with.
We’re lucky in that we have this level of technology that allows us to interact on an intimate level, face-to-face, in real time. During the Spanish Flu pandemic from one-hundred years ago, they were socially distancing for real. There wasn’t streaming video on-demand, or music services, or Zoom video chats. These people – at least the ones who cared enough – hunkered down in their homes, many by candlelight, and made the best of the situation.
It’s sobering to think about how those people dealt with it all, and managed to survive, when so many people today are up in arms about being inconvenienced. They have no clue as to how bad it could be.
But still, isolation can be tough. Right now, I’m been at home with my partner and our dogs for just over four months, with no end in sight. When I’m not on the clock, I focus on being creative. The way I see it, I have more free time now that I don’t have to commute, make lunch, go to social events, or just wander a shopping center. Being at home 24/7 has given me an opportunity and I don’t want to waste it.
My partner, on the other hand, gets a little stir crazy every few days. She loads the dogs in the car and goes for drives through the neighborhoods, getting some air and giving the dogs a chance to bark at the neighborhood cats. It’s not much, but they all enjoy it. She spends a lot of her free time exercising. That’s what she’s taking advantage of while she has the time.
And that’s what I think is important here. Isolation, being stuck at home, doesn’t have to drive you crazy. Find a way to take advantage of it. If you’re creative, then this is the perfect chance for you to work on that novel, learn to paint, play an instrument, arrange flowers. You can still interact with people online and get at least a bit of social interaction.
But just because you can’t go to Starbucks or wander around in the local super store doesn’t mean all is lost. Use that time and energy to do something positive. Plant a garden, learn to sew, write a song using nothing but spoons as your musical instrument, teach yourself some card tricks.
Trust me, this will be good for you, for your mental health, for your physical health. Besides, once all this is over with, you’ll have some cool skills to show your friends!