It doesn’t matter who you are or how social you may be, but everyone on this planet experiences loneliness and I think that during this time more than ever, loneliness is a growing feeling for us all. We’re isolated and at home and as much as we have the aid of all our modern technology, it’s just not the same as interacting face to face with friends and family. You can only catch up so much via messaging and even though we’re all at home, it still seems hard to find the time for video or normal calls and that starts to have an effect on us. Don’t even get me started on social media …
If you’re someone who’s starting to feel lonely, I completely understand. Not just because we are all in the same boat right now thanks to COVID-19, but because of my gap year last year. You see, as incredible of an experience it was, there were some cons. That included feeling very lonely – I was in a foreign country with no one I knew and I missed my friends, family and boyfriend. What made it even harder was that keeping in contact with everyone at home was hard because I was in another country (so time differences) and for a lot of my friends they were busy starting university and not seeing each other as often had an impact on how often we communicated. To put it simply, I felt incredibly alone and that grew into loneliness.
Now before I get right into how you can deal with loneliness (without eating an obscene amount of chocolate, cookies and junk food), I just want to point out that loneliness and being alone are two completely different things. If you are alone you are solitary and there are plenty of people who like to be on their own but being alone doesn’t directly translate into loneliness. Being lonely is a feeling – when isolation has a negative impact and you feel disconnected or left-out. However, it is important to note that loneliness is not a bad thing and it doesn’t indicate weakness. No matter how old you are, we all experience loneliness at different stages of our life and that’s okay. I promise you are not alone (no pun intended). I’ve struggled with this a lot over the years and particularly in the last year and a half and while I don’t have all the answers these are some of the things that have helped me get through it. I hope that they can help you too.
*Please though, if you are truly feeling alone and nothing seems to help, please seek some professional help.
Get in touch with a friend
Duh this one might seem obvious but sometimes the most obvious solutions often escape us. Sometimes loneliness can occur when we don’t get to interact with our friends on a daily basis and aren’t in contact as much. The way to fix this is to reach out to them and chat. Now you may be asking why they don’t do the same thing and why do you have to act first, but everyone is different and they may not realise how long it’s been since you’ve talked or be experiencing loneliness. So, if you haven’t spoken to a particular friend in a while, reach out to them and catch up. It may seem like a small thing but reconnecting and chatting to your friends again will probably do wonders in making that loneliness go away because you aren’t isolated anymore.
Cuddle with a pet
Experts have told us how psychologically healing and helpful pets can be and while you might think it’s made up, I can promise (being a person who has a few pets) that there is nothing quite as supportive than cuddling with your pet. They truly do give you the feeling of unconditional love and when you are feeling disconnected, receiving that love from something that doesn’t judge you or criticise you can be more healing than anything else. It may be frowned upon to talk to yourself but talking to your pet is completely acceptable, and after a DMC and cuddle with someone who won’t argue or judge you’ll definitely feel better.
Watch a movie or binge-watch a tv show
Taking some time to relax is always positive and distracting yourself is a great way method to help loneliness subside. This may seem like a small thing, or something that won’t work, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been comforted by snuggling under my blanket and watching a favourite film or a few episodes of a series. Losing yourself in a story, something to take your mind off how you’re feeling, is more effective than people give it credit so if you’re feeling lonely, maybe just the cure you need is some R&R with your tv/laptop. If it doesn’t make your loneliness go away completely, it will at least take your mind off it for an hour or two, which is better than nothing right?
Join an online book club
If the circumstances were different, I would suggest joining a book club where you can meet up with other people at houses and enjoy tasty treats while chatting about some piece of literature. However, we can’t exactly do that at the moment so the next best thing is to join an online book club. My boyfriend kept encouraging me to join one and I finally listened and joined a few on Goodreads. Books, and a shared interest in particular types of books, is a great way to connect with people. So, if you enjoy reading, this lockdown is the ideal time to become part of an online book club. You’ll have time to read the books and you’ll have a new platform to meet new people and chat about things you all enjoy. I’ve made some great friends on Goodreads and having an outlet for discussing something I love has made me feel noticeably less lonely – if you love books too then I highly recommend you try something like this out.
Have a dance party of one
Certain things just naturally make people feel happy. It’s like trying to say the word ‘bubbles’ angrily – you simply can’t do it. There are two things in particular that make almost everyone happy (at least a little bit) and those are music and dancing. Sooo why not combine the two and have a dance party for one? Before you ask, dancing by yourself is not sad or pathetic. It is actually so much fun and incredibly liberating, plus it can count as exercise (which will release those reward hormones and help combat your loneliness even more). Next time you’re feeling down, turn up your speaker or put on your headphones and just enjoy dancing to your favourite jams. If it doesn’t make you feel even a little bit better than I’ll be very surprised.
Okay I get that this isn’t the first thing you think about when you’re lonely but there is method to this madness. It might sound like a strange cure, but a big reason why people feel alone is because they feel left out and like you are missing all the fun or don’t have something you can enjoy on your own. One of the biggest thrills is conquering or mastering something, like a new skill or hobby, alone. You get a rush at the accomplishment. It doesn’t have to be something big – anything small will work so just get out there and try! Artistic hobbies can be very liberating (like painting/music/writing/ building a puzzle) but physical activities can be even better because of the hormone release. I know that finding a new physical hobby to try out during lockdown is more challenging but there are a few options, such as Youtube dance classes/ HIIT workouts or you could try yoga or get a fitness app. It may take some time to get the feeling of independence but it will happen. And when you start feeling good, other people will want to join!! A double hit to combatting loneliness 😊
Make a self-love jar
Sometimes we feel lonely because we are affected by a low self-esteem. We are typically so critical about ourselves and this overly judgemental attitude towards ourselves can unintentionally isolate us and leave us feeling lonely. When you feel lonely, remembering your true worth and taking the time to recognise some of the amazing things about yourself will give you a lightness and help you push through the loneliness. Therefore, it is a great idea to make a self-love jar – fill it with as many reasons why you love yourself as you can think of and whenever you feel lonely, pull one out. It may not get rid of all the loneliness but it will make you feel better and that’s a good start.
Write in your journal
Throughout my life I’ve discovered how healing it can be to write down your thoughts. There is just something freeing about pouring your emotions onto a page. By writing something down, you are subconsciously dealing with it and coming to terms with it and figuring out how you feel about it. Then, when you’re done, you can almost let it go because, much like sharing with a friend, you aren’t holding onto the burden by yourself. If you’re feeling lonely, try writing about it in a journal. Jot down all your feelings and thoughts as they change and you may find a strange amount of relief once you’ve done this. Then, one day when you’ve moved past these feelings, you can look back and see how much you’ve accomplished and how far forward you’ve come.
Do some organising
Losing control can often initiate feeling helpless, lonely and miserable. When your world is out of control and you don’t feel like you can manage, you feel like you’re drowning and there is no one around to save you. This is the worst feeling in the world, but the good news is that you have your own lifeboat and you can get it under control. I know, easier said than done, but it’s not impossible. If you start organising things (aspects of your life such as your diary, your desk, your wardrobe) and seize the day by being productive then you will automatically feel more in control again. Once you’ve taken back the reigns, then your negative feelings may just disappear along with the lack of control. Plus, you also end up with a more organised cupboard or schedule, and that’s always a good thing.
Social media detox
Ahh … social media. The double-edged sword that we all have a love/hate relationship with. I love social media – it’s a way to show what we’re going through and share our stories with our friends and it is another way to connect with people. However, it’s not always smiling selfies and dozens of likes. Social media can often make us feel worse about ourselves; by looking at everyone else happy and enjoying themselves we subconsciously compare and that can make us feel even more miserable and lonely. The best way to not allow it to make things worse is to avoid it – so if you’re dealing with loneliness, a social media detox will do you a world of good. You won’t be comparing yourself to other people, nor will you feel left out of anything so you will have all the time you need to focus and take care of yourself.
And there you have it! Loneliness is serious, and I understand it well. Now I know that there isn’t an easy fix and that it can be very hard to go through but I do hope that these suggestions help. These are tough times and it is crucial now, more than ever, not to stop looking after yourself. Dealing with your loneliness by finding ways to ‘cure’ it is an important way to take care of yourself. If you’ve been struggling with loneliness and found something that worked, please share it in the comments section if you feel comfortable. As always, thank you all so much for reading today’s post. Please don’t forget to hit that little like button, share with your friends and subscribe so you don’t miss out on future blog posts. I’ll see you guys next time, and remember this – you are not alone!
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx