Surviving distancing single

How to stay sane and available

Written by Jennifer Hanson

If you went into quarantine while single it probably felt at least a little ominous. Warnings about not seeing loved ones or socializing can leave anyone on edge, even if you live with others. And this time may feel extra upsetting especially if you’re seeing someone who you don’t live with. Consider this your reminder to slow down, take a deep breath and read on for some tips on how to keep yourself together.

Focus on self-awareness

This might seem like a no-brainer, but getting to know yourself on a deeper level is exactly what will help you through quarantine and social distancing. For starters, ask yourself what you need every day to function like a grown-up. This could be anything from a bowl of cereal to a hot shower or a walk with your dog. It’s important to remember that these needs may only become apparent when one of them is missing. You’re adjusting to working in a whole new environment, and there will inevitably be some hiccups before you see the whole picture.

And once you have identified these habits, stick to them as much as possible! Not having a place outside the house (like work or school) is sure to have everyone thrown off, but the only way to remedy this is by doing everything else that you know you need.

Conversely, identify the things that you find disruptive. Continually looking at the news, receiving panicked texts from friends or binging Netflix are all good examples of common disruptions that can knock you off course. Setting safeguards for these triggers while quarantined is a good idea to encourage stable mental health and work habits. No one likes getting thrown into a tailspin just as they’re about to put the finishing touches on a project. You can always check in with those people or resources later, and you’ll feel better knowing you were productive.

Thinking long-term, consider the self-care tasks in a week or month that contribute to your mental health. Maybe you take a bath once a week, or you do laundry every Sunday. These habits are essential during quarantine so that your personal life retains some form of normalcy. There might not be much left of your old routine, especially with social plans eliminated, so it’s vital to stick with what you know. No one can tell exactly how long social distancing will continue. Getting into a passive schedule will give your time some meaning until then.

Loneliness may be a worry here, but awareness and getting ahead of it might help you not be as susceptible to feeling down. Feeling lonely occurs when there is a discrepancy between the amount of connection desired and the amount of bonding actually received. These expectations or desires are the common link that often leads to feeling alone.1 However, the more in-touch you are with your needs as far as social interaction, the less lonely you are likely to feel since your needs are being met. Chances are you aren’t the only person exhibiting those needs or expectations, so reach out when you need to chat!

Love your alone time

Self-love and masturbation can also help negate lonely quarantine feelings. Masturbation is a great way to stimulate feel-good endorphins that will help you to not feel as down or sluggish. It’s also the safest form of pleasure.2 Now might be a good time to invest in a reliable vibrator if you’re feeling adventurous. Clitoral stimulation is the most important stimulation for female-bodied people,3 and you might learn something new about what you like. If this sounds daunting, try exploring feeling sexy in some lingerie. Higher body esteem equates higher sexual satisfaction for women,4 so staying in this zone will help your overall mood in a few different ways.

Quarantine is also a great time to remember your hobbies. Working remotely can take even more out of you, since staying focused takes more effort. Having ways to unwind is important to take your mind off stress or current events. Activities like exercising, coloring or reading are all excellent ways to hold your attention on something that isn’t daily stress. If your previous work life left you abandoning your hobbies, now is the perfect time to start back up and get in touch with yourself. Hobbies can be another form of self-exploration that are just as important as problem-solving skills.

Keep your family close

Family closeness is going to play a huge role in getting you through these tough times, but by family we don’t necessarily mean biological family, close friends can serve as a beacon of hope while quarantined too!

Make sure you’re keeping up with everyone you hold dear during this time. Although it’s not a hug, virtual meetings allow you to catch up like you’re across the table from one another. Schedule a group happy hour or dinner date, and dish what you’ve been up to in quarantine! While alone time is nice, too much of it will make anyone go crazy. Know when you need a chat and ask for one. Social isolation can have a profoundly negative impact on depressive symptoms, but embracing the ability to be social even at a distance will decrease these odds significantly.5 Plus, your friend literally can’t say no since almost everyone is in the same predicament, and they probably need it just as much as you do.

This effort is even more relevant if you have friends or family who are essential workers or at-risk individuals during quarantine. Make the effort to initiate contact often. A friendly face (or voice) does wonders to help stress and your loved one will probably thank you.

Invest in virtual romance

If you’re recently single, it might be smart to review yourself and what you’re looking for in a partner. Single or not, quarantine is the time to really be honest about who you are and who you want to be moving forward. The world has been given a rare break to examine our trajectories, and being true to yourself will make you happier than the alternative.

On the other hand, quarantine can be equal parts frustrating and positive if you’ve just started dating someone. You now have virtually endless time to get to know each other and find out your respective nuances. This is almost more intimate than having physical dates in a sense because you are forced to know them before you can ever do anything physical. Intimacy doesn’t have to suffer as long as you’re both communicating your needs. Since intimacy is the groundwork for honest sharing and ultimately love,6 building this bond now can be extremely beneficial.

It might be a terrible idea to go on a physical date with a stranger right now, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to meet. This might be the perfect time to get to know someone new and find out if you actually get along. Plus, if it doesn’t work out, not leaving the house is an easy way to turn someone down. Millennials especially should find this easy, since they are 75% more likely than older generations to have dated someone online, and 57% more likely to have made a dating app profile.7

Something else to keep in mind during this time: according to one 2017 study, 42% of singles judge a potential date by their social media posts and photos, while 87% think caring for each other while sick and mentioning each other to their friends are some of the most important moments that signal falling in love.7 This means that much of what goes into a relationship (save for the physical part of course) can be communicated virtually. Quarantine might actually increase the desire for connection and benefit both parties.

On the chance that you’ve met someone worth getting to know, try a virtual date. You could even theme it a certain way: coffee date, dinner date, or a FaceTime nature walk. Quarantine is the best time to get creative and show off what makes you unique. Even if there’s no immediate chemistry, it’s another way to access the human contact we’re deprived of.

Single or not, social distancing is guaranteed to end at some point. The important part is figuring out how to make it bearable for yourself in the meantime. Finding a level of comfort with yourself will benefit you more than any other approach in the long run. Hobbies, self-love, dating at a distance, sticking to routine and holding your family close will provide the maximum amount of support available during this difficult time.


  1. Perlman, D., and Peplau, L. A. (1981). Toward a Social Psychology of Loneliness. In R. Gilmour, and S. Duck (Eds.), Personal Relationships: 3. Relationships in Disorder (pp. 31-56). London: Academic Press.
  2. Sex and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). (2020, March 27). Retrieved April 19, 2020, from
  3. Tavares, Ines Margarida Matos. “The Relationship Between Sexual Stimulation and Female Orgasm: The Mediator and Moderator Roles of Psychological Variables.” University of Porto, 2016.
  4. Pujols Y, Seal BN, Meston CM. The association between sexual satisfaction and body image in women [published correction appears in J Sex Med. 2010 Jun;7(6):2295]. J Sex Med. 2010;7(2 Pt 2):905–916.
  5. Ge et al. (2017). Social isolation, loneliness and their relationships with depressive symptoms: A population-based study. PLoS One.
  6. Prager and Roberts (2004). Deep intimate connection: Self and intimacy in couple relationships. Handbook of closeness and intimacy.
  7. Newswire, MultiVu - PR. “Singles in America: Match Releases Largest Study on U.S. Single Population.” Multivu,, 6 Feb. 2017,

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