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Quarantine Fatigue: Single, No Work and No Travel

Published: June 4, 2020 | Last Updated: June 4, 2020 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading
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A 60-year-old reader feels alone while maintaining social distance with no end in sight.


I live alone and have for about 25 years. I’m now 60. Until age 50, I had a wide circle of friends, most of whom I don’t see anymore and have not for some time. However, I had all the people interaction I wanted through my work. 

Now, with Covid-19, no work, and no travel, I realize that a lot of what made my life fun and interesting was the people I met. Without travel, my life seems pretty empty. I’m not exactly an introvert but I’m not an extrovert either. I definitely prefer going out and socializing to this shelter-in-place all alone thing.

I do see people, at a safe distance, usually in someone’s backyard or at a park. But social distancing and fear of catching Covid pretty much eliminates my friends with families inviting me, the lone single person, to join a family gathering.

I’m really feeling the lack of family connections and/or a life partner. I was never much of a group person anyway. I’m not sure how to navigate online communities and relationships. Maybe that’s the introvert in me. I see some people growing closer during this time and think, what about me? 

What’s my question? I don’t know! How to meet a man for a close intimate relationship? How to make new friends in this weird time? I do fee that if I had work that was purposeful that alone would make a huge difference in my life. 

Signed, Vickie


Hi Vickie,

Although this doesn’t make it any easier to bear, know that you are not alone. Everyone is having a hard time figuring out how to lead their lives during this pandemic, and many people are suffering from quarantine fatigue. Today, one TV commentator called this situation a “unicorn” because there are no precedents or rules to follow to help us get through it. The future of what will come next or when is uncertain.

Pre-pandemic—through your work and interest in travel—you were able to connect with people who shared your interests. Now, you have more time on your hands, are unable to plan trips or other social events to look forward to, and have to take distancing precautions to stay safe. Many people are dealing with the additional burden of having economic worries, too.

Sheltering in place can be particularly hard on single people who are unable to get close to another human being, let alone touch someone. (Bear in mind that there are couples who are unhappy being cooped up with each other, and families who are stressed having to tangle with bored, unhappy kids and teens, too.)

Putting some structure into your day could help you gain some sense of control. Try to keep regular hours. Eat healthy foods. Get enough sleep. Don’t spend too much time listening to the news. Get regular exercise. Pursue some of the interests you never had time for before. Weather permitting, continue to spend time outdoors each day, walking in your neighborhood or at a nearby park. Wave or say hello. Being outdoors in public places, even while socially distant, can help you feel a bit less alone. You may start to see the same masked faces.

Realistically, during this challenging time, you’re probably not going to be able to create a circle of friends. A few suggestions:

  • Perhaps, there are one or two old friends with whom you can reconnect regularly by phone, FaceTime, Zoom or text so you feel more connected.
  • If there is no one like that, check out one of the many interest or geographically-based affinity groups online through an organization like Meetup.com. Although these groups aren’t meeting in-person now, they are meeting virtually. It’s easier to bond with someone who has common interests or in the case of singles groups, is looking to make new friends.
  • Volunteering or reaching out to older persons in your community can be another way of feeling part of something larger than yourself.
  • If you are interested in meeting men, some news reports suggest that people are still relying on dating apps during the pandemic. One silver lining of not being able to get together physically is that it has led to singles spending more time getting to know one another, an extended courtship of sorts.

Hopefully, we’ll all be getting on a better track when infection rates decline, a vaccine is developed and we’re back to work or school. Hope this helps a little.

My best, Irene

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Comments (2)

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  1. sheryl kraft says:

    It’s so hard not seeing friends for so long. Zoom helps, but there’s nothing like the “real” thing. Lately, I’ve seen a few friends in person, and it’s so refreshing – but so hard to resist the urge to hug!

  2. Amy says:

    I’m happily single in my mid 50s. Some of my friends are going crazy cooped up with their families. I consider myself lucky in that respect. I‘ve been talking on the phone more and texting but not necessarily with the same people as everyone has differences in schedules and emotional energy. I loathe Zoom. I didn’t think I missed people that much until I met up with a few friends at a social distance protest/rally. We wanted to hug. Seeing them was great, I was even glad the ones who sometimes annoy me. As we’re reopening I’m going to do a more outdoor social distancing get together and take a few more. It’s a risk I’m willing to take in a risk/reward analysis. Everyone has to figure out what she wants to do to stay physically and emotionally safe.

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