Written by: Agnes Gomori, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Looking after our mental health when isolating alone is a priority. In many countries, socializing has been cut off completely because of the pandemic, forcing us to look inwards, maybe for the first time. In this article, I share some of my tips on shifting our focus from surviving to thriving by changing our mindset.
Here in London, we are in the middle of the 3rd lockdown. I noticed a worrying trend amongst some of my extroverted Empath clients who are typically in their 30s and 40s: they feel they don’t have the right’ to openly show their emotions. They feel the need to be the strong one for others: for their children, their elderly parents, their employees, their businesses, their boss, everyone but for themselves.
Regardless of the living arrangements: living with a spouse, family, or flatmates, the common story that emerges is a stark feeling of increased detachment and loneliness. Men are often more affected than women, especially those who were brought up believing that showing their emotions (or even acknowledging them) equals weakness.
Not talking about our feelings can be very self-damaging in the long run. But if they feel this way, having their family and friends around them, what about those extroverts who are isolating alone during lockdown? Do they feel even more lonely, or do they feel blessed that they are living independently?
According to the latest data, over 2 million Londoners are living in a single household. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that around 50% of them are extroverts (although I have to add that the line between introverts and extroverts is often blurred).
No socializing can be a safe haven for introverts, but it’s a tricky balancing act for extroverted people, especially for sensitives, like Empaths.
Extroverted Empaths tend to be fiercely independent, and they want the best of both worlds: they want the excitement of a packed social life and want peace and harmony and stay away from drama. The restrictions have taught us many things. One of them is that we have to adopt.
The much-hated long commute has been replaced with a comforting routine of working from home for many. But what about our free time? The key is to learn to appreciate alone time. It’s crucial that we do this and not fight against it. That is when we can start to make conscious choices by listening to our needs. The needs of our body, mind, and soul. Why? Because if, for instance, we are not doing the activities which engage our mind, or if we are not nourishing our body, if we deny that dance, music, or whatever feeds our soul, then we cease to achieve the right balance.
Being mindful about how we spend our time is not just about focusing on being productive. That is the result.
Whilst spending too much time in solitude is bad for us - there is a reason forced solitude is used as a punishment - having no alone time is just as damaging in the long term. One of the genuine risks is losing ourselves, not knowing who we are anymore as we don’t have the alone time to reflect.
Being alone doesn’t make you lonely, but being in bad company does. A bad company doesn’t have to be a human company; it can be bad thoughts of yourself. Empaths who are not empowered can form dependency while isolating themselves alone, such as: Food or alcohol dependency, reckless online shopping, overworking, binging on the news/ social media, or even exercising too much. People who didn’t learn how to be in touch with their feelings will numb themselves to avoid thinking and talking about it. Empaths who don’t feel supported can take it a step further: they numb themselves but still feel obliged to help others—a recipe for burnout.
If you are currently isolating alone and you feel lonely, the good news is that you can turn negative feelings associated with it into something positive.
Like there are two sides of the coin, there are two sides of isolating alone. You can believe that you are a victim of the circumstances, or you can look at it as an endless opportunity for growth. The choice is yours.
Here are some tips on feeling more empowered:
Declutter your mind
Start to write down your thoughts in an auto-writing style. It’s important that your ego does not control your writing. It can be just a quick 10 minutes in the morning or before going to bed. I use this technique with my clients, and it has a very therapeutic effect on them. Don’t worry about the style of the writing. You do it for yourself, and only you will read it. It will free up your mind, and you will be surprised about the number of recurring thoughts racing through your mind once you record them in your journal. Your inner dialog is an open invitation for knowing yourself better. In my sessions, I help my clients analyze these recurring thoughts as they are the tell-tale signs of the inner blocks. Decluttering our mind is essential for our mental health.
Honor your needs: mind, body, and soul
Our mind needs intellectual engagement, just like it needs leisure time. It could be enrolling into a course, reading a book. It doesn’t have to cost you money; there are plenty of free courses and free downloadable books available online. Maybe it’s the right time to retrain yourself or to start a side hustle.
Create: Draw, paint, sing, dance, write. Anything that takes you into an uninterrupted joyous flow. It doesn’t have to be a piece of art. Just do it for the sake of enjoyment. Time flies when you’re inflow. You can also join an online hobby group if you prefer to start a new hobby or pick up an old one.
Ground yourself: Walk in nature daily, even if it’s just in a tiny local park. Breathe in the fresh air deeply, touch the trees. You must walk at a comfortable pace. Slowing down allows you to feel centered. It might take some practice to slow down, as it can be uncomfortable to allow our emotions to surface at first. If you catch yourself ‘racing’ through your walk, ask yourself the question:’ Why am I running away from myself?’
Meditate: I recommend at least once a day, preferably first thing in the morning, so you can start your day feeling centered. This will allow you to feel focused and productive. Ideally, for about 20 minutes a day, but even for just 5 minutes will make a big difference. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; you can sit in silence with your eyes closed, or you can choose a guided meditation. Again, there are plenty of free resources online.
The glorious side effect of mental decluttering and honoring your own needs is that suddenly you don’t want to spend your time on things that are not aligned with your true self. You’ll be able to identify more clearly what gives you energy and what takes it away. You’re starting to be selective.
Being selective is the new cool. Cutting back on reading news and social media use in itself will boost your mental health. It’s also important who we keep in touch with and how. Empaths usually have strong family connections, but if it’s not the case, limiting the amount of time you interact with them can help.
Keeping in touch with friends is equally important. Based on last year, you probably have a good idea who you can rely on in lockdown. Your friends know that you live alone. Who is keeping in touch? Is it a two-way friendship? Do you feel uplifted or drained after you spoke? If someone’s actions tell you that they don’t care about you, then believe them and let them go. Not all friendships are meant to last forever, and that’s ok. Focus on those who are there for you, with whom you can be totally yourself, laugh and share meaningful conversations, those who make you feel energized.
Making the most of our alone time is all down to our positive mindset. While we can’t know for sure when we will socialize freely again, we can tame the uncertainty by establishing our own routine. The power of saying no to what’s not serving you equals saying yes to your mental health. Remember, the most important choice is always yours: the choice of how you react to the hurdles of your life.
Agnes Gomori, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Agnes Gomori is an Intuitive Life Coach and Healer. As a multi-passionate, creative Empath, Agnes is committed to helping fellow Empaths to find their true calling by applying the healing power of arts and nature, which she combines with energy healing in her therapeutic coaching sessions. Agnes has helped clients from across the globe to unlock their true potential. Her mission is to help extroverted Empaths become the empowered creators they were born to be.