This pandemic has made a lot of us reconsider our priorities. Many people suddenly wondered whether finding love was more important to them than they’d realized.

Although most businesses have opened back up in the United States, dating remains far removed from its former glory. Social distancing has kept the all-important aspect of physical touch off the table for the time being.

45% of Americans are single, and in 2020 many singles began utilizing the outdoor socially distanced date—but it’s winter now. There are only so many brisk walks around the park with a stranger you can do before Netflix and your couch start looking like a more enticing option. And while meeting a brand-new hottie in person is infinitely better than chatting online, it’s tough knowing that things can’t move to the next level for a while.

Being alone during the pandemic has been isolating and difficult for even the most independent singleton. Life was upended and our routines were thrown into disarray. While couples had the luxury of companionship, intimacy, emotional support, singles did not—and prolonged periods of loneliness have a tangible impact on mental health.

But there are things you can do not just to pass the time, but to maintain meaning in your life, and stay on top of your game for when normal dating finally returns to the realm of possibility.

Get in touch—and stay in touch

Zoom was all the rage when lockdown began, although for some people video calls lost their novelty a few months into the pandemic. But when you can’t meet your nearest and dearest for quality time, video calls go a long way to fulfilling your social needs.

In an increasingly unpredictable world, forging and maintaining connections with those who mean most to you is one of the only surefire ways of staying grounded. Staying in touch with your friends doesn’t just mitigate their loneliness, but makes you feel more positive about the world, too.

You might consider reaching out particularly to fellow singletons, also navigating the pandemic solo. They may have greater empathy for your situation and feelings than friends and family who, despite all good intentions, are preoccupied with kids or maintaining their relationships.

Avoid things you know make you sad

If you’re single and looking for love, photos of happy couples on social media might gnaw away at your happiness. But when living through a global pandemic as a single hopeless romantic, the seemingly unending stream of other people’s joy can be draining.

The trick is to be savvy. No-one’s saying delete your social media and wait out COVID in a cave. But if you know certain content brings you down, simply unfollowing it is an effective starting point. In time, proactively removing brief moments of unhappiness from your day can give your mood a serious boost.

Consider your expectations

It’s easy for unhappy singles to believe everyone in a relationship is basking in a private paradise. But in reality, no person is going through life free of problems- emotional, medical, financial, sexual, or spiritual. And remember, people on the other side of the fence often look at their single friends with envy, imagining their lives to be filled with excitement, liberty, and spontaneity.

The point of reflecting on this, and understanding that your happiness isn’t inherently tied to your relationship status, isn’t to downplay the many wonderful things about being in a couple, but rather to adjust your mindset, alleviate your sense of isolation, and recognize your struggles as formative, rather than destructive.

You don’t need to wait for Mr. or Mrs. Right to feel connected to something bigger than yourself. Perhaps you could evaluate just how important you are in the lives of your loved ones, and find peace in offering solace to others throughout the pandemic. In turn, people will realize your great value as a friend and be there for you in your times of need. And then there are communal activities you can still get involved with—virtual book clubs, quizzes, exercise groups—as well as charities and volunteer work, all of which can be essential sources of positivity when you’re lonely.

Emerge from the pandemic a stronger person

In one way or another, no-one will come out of the global crisis unscathed. We’re in the hands of scientists—but we still retain control over how we personally handle this period. For many single people, now is the time to reaffirm your social ties, strive for meaning wherever it can be found, and keep fit, healthy, and mentally sharp.

Despite how it felt early on, the pandemic didn’t exactly put a pause on our lives. Rather, it forced us to think about what brings us joy, pleasure, and satisfaction. So if nothing else, remember that dating will go back to normal—and when it does, what you did to overcome your individual struggles during the pandemic will make you all the more desirable and attractive to potential romantic partners.

Maclynn International is an elite, multi-award-winning matchmaking consultancy, boasting a vast network of exceptional singles across the globe. We’re still helping our members find love during these tough times, and our expert matchmakers are here for you if you’re ready to take the plunge, so speak to a member of the team today.