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Coronavirus social distancing got you down? Tips and tricks to help you get through it

The coronavirus pandemic has meant some sudden changes in the way we live our lives, and one of those is the advice that we practice social distancing. But that can be quite a tough thing emotionally to do. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get through it.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer

I fall squarely into the introvert category. Given the option between a big party and time in a library, or going to the cinema or going for a walk in nature, the latter would always for me take precedence over the former.

I've also spent a lot of time on my own.

Just over the past year or so, I've undertaken solo wilderness trips, done two- and three-day nature vigils where I've sat alone in nature. I also spend time meditating alone, both indoors and outdoors, and I'm here to tell you that even I have experienced the loneliness, pain, sorrow, and even suffering of being away from other humans.

This is why I know that the advice that we practice social distancing during this time of COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is something that's easier said than done. While it's a generalization, humans are, on the whole, social animals, and separation from other humans can be felt like pain.

Loneliness can cause emotional pain and even physical pain.

I know I've felt those feeling plenty of times. They are difficult. So, what can you do to cope?

The first, and I think most important thing you can do is to know that feeling lonely when alone is normal. It's not a sign of weakness. It's not a sign that you need to toughen up. You're not wrong for feeling that way.

It's common. It's normal. If you have people telling you that well, they're OK with it, remember that's just their preference. People are different. Some people like spicy food, others don't. Some people like Windows, some Mac, some Linux. 

If you're a person who never ever feels lonely, and who likes to tell other people that, try to do it in a way that doesn't make the other person feel bad, or even worse.

We're different. That's OK. Don't let others try to tell you that how you feel is wrong.

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If you're reading this, chances are good that you're interested in tech, and one of the great things about tech is that it gives us a chance to connect with others, while still maintaining social distancing.

Use this to reach out to others who feel the same. There will be lots of them. 

It's not just you. 

Use the phone, video, text, photos. Whatever works for you. Connect with people. 

I'm no expert here, but I recommend starting with small talk (don't go straight into big stuff like politics or coronavirus) and finding like-minded people.

Tech is also great for relieving boredom, and combined with headphones or earbuds, it can be a really immersive way to watch movies and listen to music. Headphones and earbuds also make talking to others better and easier.

Then there are ebooks. How many have you bought that you haven't got around to reading?

Don't forget audiobooks. I'm a massive Audible fan and have hundreds of hours of fiction and non-fiction material to go through (new members get a 30-day free trial). If you're into learning new things, I also recommend The Great Courses, where you can find audio and video lectures on a whole raft of subjects.

There's also a never-ending amount of content on YouTube. There are personalities there -- Big Clive and Mustie1 come to mind -- that not only output great content, but who are also fun, personable, and entertaining to spend some virtual time with.

I'm not saying that this replaces human contact, and I'm not saying that you won't feel lonely, but I have found that it helps, and others I have spoken to have told me that it helps.

It's a difficult time. Let's all try to be kind, both to ourselves and to others.

I'd love to hear from you. How do you feel? Do you feel lonely? What do you do when you feel the pain of loneliness?

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