What is it like to self-isolate when you live alone?
VANCOUVER -- The message has been driven home by health officials – if you don’t need to leave your house, stay home. For families, that means finding activities to do together. But what if you live alone?
CTV News spoke with three people in Vancouver doing just that.
Danielle Harrison works for an insurance company. She’s on week two of working from home and says she’s “going full on bonkers” by herself.
“The only time I’ve left the house is to get groceries, go to the pharmacy, that’s mostly it,” Harrison said.
She says parents and friends check in regularly, and getting to know her neighbours has helped.
“On Friday we had a little neighbourhood patio party and we all grabbed a drink and put some music on a went out on our patios.”
But she says one thing that comes with living by yourself in a time of self-isolation is the range of emotions.
“We are all feeling anxiety and we have to be able to admit when you’re stressed or your anxious or you’re lonely,” Harrison said. “We’re all kind of going through the same thing and none of us know how to cope.”
Sepideh Alavi works for the corporate arm of Vancouver International Airport and has been self-isolating for three weeks, choosing to stay inside early on when she started feeling unwell.
“Since I started feeling better I feel like I’ve had to cope with being indoors for so long,” Alavi said. “I’ve been trying to get eight hours of sleep and eating well, a lot of at home exercises, I’m taking online courses, I’m learning how to do handstands or any other random thing I can think of.”
She’s focused on reconnecting with people through video calls.
“I actually find that I’m more in contact with people than I would be otherwise, everyone seems to be reaching out, even my friends abroad," she said.
And on the upside, she’s using the opportunity to do things she enjoys.
“I think it’s fun, I really do.”
A similar story for CTV News producer Derek Wong. He records “a lot of television and a lot of movies” and is also a big bike rider.
But he says when officials say to only gather with your immediate household, it can get tough.
“You’re going out and you see other people, their family unit is out together for a walk or you see people on social media posting with their partners, it’s that immediate interaction you don’t have so you have to be a little bit more proactive.”
Robert Grigore, a counsellor, says this is a tough time for people who are used to being social.
“I’m finding a lot of extroverts to be very stressed, very anxious, because they don’t have those relationships to depend on in the same way that they used to.”
Grigore says times of isolation can bring up a lot of different emotions.
“It could be sadness, it could be anger, it could fear, definitely fear for everybody to some degree,” Grigore said.
“Feeling this way is totally normal, this is a normal response in an abnormal situation. And we’re all experiencing a shared traumatic.”
His advice is to utilize video platforms to connect with people virtually and reach out through communities on Facebook.
“Do your best to reach out and to start that conversation, even if you don’t know what to say, just say hey I’m here. Because even though you’re alone physically, you don’t have to be alone emotionally.”
Resources are also available online.