How to deal with loneliness
Updated: Aug 21, 2022
We are fast approaching a time in our annual calendar when life can feel amazing and relaxing. Yet for so many, a completely challenging time. We are constantly made to feel through media messaging, through retail and by the expectations of those around us that we need to ‘be jolly’, happy and seeming to be ‘fun’.
However, for millions of people in the world, this can be the loneliest time in a person’s life, particularly if you are recently separated, bereaved, socially isolated or have relatives who live away. Where once this season may have brought noise and people into our lives, suddenly life can feel really silent; the invitations to gatherings may have slowed right down or it can feel as though you don’t ‘fit’ in anywhere.
Here are my tips to overcome feelings of loneliness at this time, as this time of year is for every one of us.
1. Acceptance plays a big part in how we move forward. By accepting that our feelings of loneliness are normal and perfectly acceptable, we can start to turn the situation around. Small periods of solitude can help us to rest and recover our minds and body, just us an opportunity to process out thoughts and understand them. Small periods of solitude can also give us an opportunity to focus on self-care and wellness, something that we often don’t plan for in our everyday.
2. Speaking with one person every day about everyday things, really helps to lift our mood and change our focus. It is so easy to stay indoors, where one day can flow into the next. Seeing people and connecting with another person can help focus on something else and can help to re-balance our thoughts. Speaking with another person reminds us that we are not alone. You never know, you might even make new friends.
3. Speaking out about how we are feeling can really help to process our feelings and also help us balance our thoughts and ‘self-talk’. We can be very critical about ourselves and tell ourselves things that we would never say to anyone else, whether it’s a fair comment or not! Sharing our thoughts with a close, trusted friend can really help to bring balance back into our thinking.
4. This may be the perfect time to say ‘yes’ to a carefully selected set of invitations, where you will know at least some people and feel comfortable going to. Perhaps this is the time to try something completely new? Small gatherings, local groups and festive events are everywhere, at the moment and a great time to visit, ‘pop-in’ or go with friends.
5. When we are experiencing feelings of loneliness, it is easy to try and follow the same routines we have / had always followed at this time of year, be it that we removed ourselves from society or try to keep the social calendar alive. However, this is a different time and phase in our lives and in recognition of that, it may be refreshing to try something different. Perhaps booking a table for Christmas dinner, with or without friends, or booking a holiday or doing an activity with a group. We have so many options and this could be a really good time to see what else interests you and explore how you want to ‘do December’ from now on.
6. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, focus on more than your thoughts and also give back, at the same time. This activity can also bring routine and structure into your week and also give you a fantastic reason to go out with purpose. At this time of year, there are lots of local voluntary groups that need support.
7. If you are not sure of what you do like and want to do, why not try a few things that you have always wanted to do or think your might like? Pursuing a hobby or interest can be rewarding, good for our mental health, a great way to meet like-minded people and it could create a positive and healthy weekly routine for you. There are many local groups that you can get involved with and a quick online search will help you find them.
8. Planning ahead works really well, as you then have choices and can make sure that you have things to do and focus on that you want and enjoy. This may include booking a holiday, visiting a place you have always wanted to see, visiting friends and relatives or even booking that ‘experience’ you are yet to try. This is a great time to plan ahead to next year.
The greatest challenge with loneliness is knowing where to start. I hope that the tips help you find your way forward.
If you experience difficulty this year, then reach out for help. Call a friend, a family member or a helpline. You are not alone, as there are many people who would love to hear from you and support you.
If you are ready to move forward and need help crafting your future self, then please reach out and book a free 30 mins call to discuss your needs.