Sex & Relationships

7 Self-Care Tips For Dating During Coronavirus, According To An Expert

Things you can add to your pre-date routine that'll leave you feeling ready for that socially distanced meet up.

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Whether you’re newly single or a seasoned swipe right connoisseur, navigating the world of dating in a pandemic is incredibly tough. You’ve got all of the usual dating concerns to contend with as well as a whole range of COVID-19 related anxieties. Self-love may feel like a tired buzzword but it's more crucial now than ever – and can have an excellent impact on your mental health. Below, a dating expert explains seven self love tips you can sprinkle into your dating routine to leave you feeling your best when swiping this season.

“There’s always going to be highs and lows when you’re dating but this is exacerbated by the pandemic,” says Logan Ury, Director of Relationship Science at Hinge. A recent study conducted by the dating app found that three quarters of Hinge users said they normally feel anxious before a date and one in four said the pandemic has only made this worse. This hasn’t stopped people swiping though. Apps like Tinder and Hinge have both reported a massive increase in usage over the last few months.

So, if you’ve been matching and chatting with people but are nervous to take it to the next step, Ury shared her best self care tips for dating in a pandemic.

Meditate before you date
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Hinge has collaborated with mindfulness app, Headspace to create two pre-date meditations aimed at dispelling nerves and fighting any negative talk you have towards yourself. Taking a moment to be silent may not usually figure in your pre-date routine. However, Ury says, “You want to feel your most confident before you go on a date. Often people have a voice in their head that’s very critical and this is about getting away from that.”

Ignore cuffing season

October has hit and it’s hard to fight the urge (and social media pressure) to find someone to snuggle down with for the winter. The pressure someone before lockdown rules change make things even worse, but that isn’t a reason to rush yourself, says Ury.

"People focus on getting a 'hot water bottle' [person] rather than finding someone they actually want to spend time with." She adds: "Reflect on your dating journey and your real motivations. Do you want to be with this person or do you just not want to be alone?"

Video date before meeting
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Hinge, Bumble, and Tinder have all designed video chat functions so people can meet online for a pre-date. “More than half of our users tried video dating for the first time during the pandemic. 81% said they weren’t awkward and it’s such a safe, low pressure way to connect. You don’t even have to put your eyeliner on,” says Ury. It’s a way to check you’re on the same wavelength as your match before leaving the comfort of your sofa.

Don’t be a ghoster

Choosing not to ghost someone sounds like a way to protect them rather than you, but it’s actually a golden rule that will help you set boundaries for yourself.

Hinge has seen a 27% decrease in ghosting during the pandemic and Ury explains that being clear with the people you’re talking to isn’t only kinder to them but also helps you become "a more intentional dater."

Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend
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The last few months have been chaotic and prioritising yourself and your feelings is crucial. If you don’t feel in a position to meet someone, then that’s fine. If you do, that’s great. “It’s totally natural to feel a range of emotions when you’re dating. Be kind to yourself,” says Ury, “You need to feel like you’re a person worthy of finding love before you can expect that someone will be willing to love you.”

Take a break if you feel burnt out

“You should prioritise your own self-care and that might mean acknowledging when you’re burnt out,” says Ury. The entire dating process, from opening an app to sitting down for a socially distanced drink, can be pretty exhausting. You’ve got to deal with the bad (boring conversations and rejection) along with the good.

There’s nothing wrong with closing your dating apps until you’re in a better mental place to entertain the prospect of donning jeans and a nice top and meeting someone new.