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April 8, 2020

10 Ways to Cope with Loneliness in Solitude.

Read Elephant’s Continually-updating Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon

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If you’re like me and your love language is quality time and/or physical touch, the quarantine might be revealing a few things you didn’t quite know about yourself.

You might be craving connection, feeling depressed, or even using things like food or masturbation to help you cope with the stress.

You might be questioning things about yourself, feeling insecure, and letting your thoughts take over. It may be challenging to feel that inner peace you once felt: aka, the warm fuzzies. It could even make you aware of codependent habits, thoughts, and behaviors you’ve had in the past.

Why physical touch is valuable to our well-being:

According to Healthline,

Hugs reduce stress.

Hugs may protect against illness.

Hugs boost your heart health.

Hugs can make you happier.

Hugs help reduce fears.

Hugs may reduce pain.

It is proven that a 20-second hug increases the oxytocin level in your brain, which allows us to feel love. This is why it is deemed the “love hormone.” 

I’ve done a ton of research and also observed my own longings and discontent with solitude, living alone for nearly two decades.

Here’s what I have discovered to help you increase your oxytocin levels, even when no one else is around. Let’s break away from the stigma of isolation, as this is a time to retreat inward. 

10 ways to help increase your oxytocin levels and self-love:

  1. Give love. When we feel lack in an area of our life, we are being called to give more of that. In turn, this allows us to receive. Choose five people per day and send them a loving text, email, phone or video message. 
  2. Take a warm bath. Create a loving environment for yourself with candles, music, bath salts, and essential oils to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system.
  3. Get a weighted blanket. It creates a sense of security and instantly calms the nervous system with both warmth and weight.
  4. Try rectangular breathing. Close your eyes and set a timer for five minutes. Breathe in for a count of eight, hold for four, exhale for eight, hold for four. Repeat until the timer goes off.
  5. Dance. Put on music, close your eyes, and let your body move. Do this safely, meaning be careful not to run into the coffee table or stub your toe on the sofa leg.
  6. Virtual hang. It’s not the same, but it’s better than nothing at all. Organize a group meeting on Zoom or Google Hangouts. Connect with your friends just as you would having dinner or lunch with them.
  7. Animal cuddles. Spend some quality time away from social media with your beloved pet. Let them feel your love, because by giving love you receive love. If you don’t have a pet, this is an excellent time to consider fostering a dog or cat. You can look up local shelters who are in need of foster parents.
  8. Laugh. Watch a funny movie or show. We have incredible free and paid access to everything from Netflix to YouTube. Laughter not only creates a feel-good experience, but also boosts the immune system for up to 24 hours.
  9. Journal. Free write your thoughts for three pages. This is called brain dumping. It’s best to do this first thing in the morning after waking up, before your logical mind takes over. Let the words flow without overthinking.
  10. Create something. Do you like to cook, paint, play music, or knit? Channel your inner artist and pour that energy into opening your heart. Creation does not come from our mind as much as it comes from our hearts.

And if you find yourself still struggling, there is the gift of teletherapy to help you cope.

Remember, just because we are on mandatory lockdown doesn’t mean we are helpless. We are all in this together, and it’s our time to practice the gifts and balance of giving and receiving.

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