Over 2 million people are living alone in Australia right now, and many have been doing it tough since COVID hit.
I’ve been a home-alone woman for a few years now. Most of the time I love it that way. It’s rare that I get lonely. During the first lock-down I managed fine and even enjoyed it. But when the current lock-down in Melbourne hit last week, I wasn’t so sure how I’d cope. I couldn’t imagine the next six weeks on my own again.
Thankfully my son Billy was amenable to my invitation to stay with me. So far we’ve only had one argument, so we’re cohabiting quite nicely. It’s comforting to have the human I love most in the world under the same roof during these challenging times.
According to a Swinburne Australian Loneliness Report, 1 in 4 Australian adults are lonely and have a significantly worse physical and mental health status than those who are not. Loneliness is a serious pandemic, particularly in the Western world. Perhaps it will be the cause of more premature deaths than COVID ever will?
Being ‘lonely’ and being ‘alone’ are not the same thing. We can be in a stadium with thousands of people (ah, those were the days) and feel lonely. We can be in a long-term marriage and feel lonely (been there, done that). We can be a loyal employee in a bustling workplace and feel lonely (been there, done that too).
And we can be entirely alone and not feel even the slightest tinge of loneliness.
The root cause of loneliness is not being alone. The root cause is disconnection. Connection is the antidote to loneliness. German philosopher Immanuel Kant once wrote “Rules for happiness: something to do, someone to love, something to hope for.” In today’s weird world, happiness seems elusive and fleeting whereas a sense of connection to these things seems more grounding.
So, if you’re feeling lonely try writing a list for each of these rules. Here’s mine as a thought-starter.
Something to do… the writing of my new book (currently at 17,000 words), a community food co-operative project, the daily habits of journaling, walking, cooking, yoga and reading.
Someone to love… my son (each day for dinner and a walk), my local friends (regular walks in pairs in nature), my family and interstate friends (weekly catch ups via zoom and phone).
Something to hope for... the spring, the opening of the new café under my apartment, a publishing deal, a family-gathering in QLD in September, a COVID-free world.
If you are living alone and are aching for the companionship of your loved ones right now, my heart goes out to you. I see you and I hear you. I know it’s not easy.
In the meantime, I hope you can find connection by anchoring yourself in something to do, someone to love and something to hope for. Give it a go!
As a thank you for following me, I’m offering The Purpose Project online course for just $97 (RRP $297) today. Use the coupon code ‘Purpose2020’.
As always, if I can be of service reach out. I’m here. I care.
PS If you missed my recent podcast Conversations on The Coronation. Listen here
About me: I’m a Purpose Educator and author of The Purpose Project. I help leaders attract and retain the best people by harnessing the power of deep purpose and storytelling. I do this through The Purpose Project for Companies, a customised consultative process for co-creating a new purpose statement and The Purpose Project Course, a 7-step online course to help employees bring their own why to work.