The distinction between being alone and being lonely is important. We all know the age old saying that succintly illuminates this difference: being in a room full of people can often feel like the loneliest place in the world. Being alone is simply an indication of your physical state, as there’s an absence of company. Being lonely indicates something deeper. Loneliness is a reflection of someone’s feelings of sadness and isolation, either because of being alone or in spite of being surrounded by people. It is on these days, when loneliness threatens to negatively impact your mental health, that self-care is vital.
Self-care may seem like the last thing you want to focus on when feeling lonely. But by practicing some essential self-care tips, you’ll be able to battle your feelings of loneliness. An important aspect of self-care is not rushing into doing anything too difficult, too soon. This will only cause you to be deterred from taking care of yourself in the future because it will feel like too much. Start with some of the small tips below and build up to the more advanced tips to leave those lonely days in the past.
Easy Tips for Lonely Days:
Text a friend or family member who always makes you laugh
Sometimes, it can be easy to get stuck in your own head and feel like no-one understands you. Texting a friend can help you remind yourself that there are people in your life who make you laugh and who know and love you. Talking about trivial things like the fact the jumper you LOVE is on sale can help you bring yourself out of feeling lonely. It reminds you that there are little things in life to be excited about. It welcomes the reminder that feeling lonely is only temporary.
You could talk to your friend about why you’re feeling lonely. They may be able to offer advice or at least just be there to listen. Often, getting something off your chest and talking to a close friend is one of the best ways to be relieved of feelings of loneliness. After all, a worry shared is a worry halved. You can try and break down why you’re feeling lonely and come up with a solution with the help of your friend.
Listen to some relatable music
Now that it’s 2020, I feel as though we’re thankfully past the age of #relatablethings. However, listening to music you can relate to can definitely help you when you’re feeling lonely. We often feel lonely as a consequence of feeling misunderstood. And so listening to songs that express what we feel that we can’t say (or don’t know how to say), can feel like a massive relief.
Lie on your bed and put in your earphones and allow yourself to feel what you feel. Hearing your own, sometimes overwhelming thoughts, sung by someone from across the globe, can help you feel understood. And in feeling understood, your loneliness will subside. It will be replaced by a feeling of connection to the song, the lyrics and the singer. We all too often feel as though we’re the only ones that feel the way we do. But listening to relatable music will show you that this is simply not true!
And Some Slightly Less Easy Tips For When You’re Lonely:
Go outside to a public place like a park and people-watch.
If you’re anything like me, you can quite easily stay in the comfort of your home for a really long period of time. And while relaxing at home is great some days, it can also be our downfall. When feelings of loneliness stir round in your mind, getting outside is a great way to get rid of them! When you only see the same four walls, day in and day out, it can truly feel like you aren’t part of society. But getting out and visiting a park or having a coffee in a cafe and people-watching can remedy this.
Sometimes, just being around other people can alleviate feelings of loneliness. Watching as the world goes by and having no expectation to interact with others is the perfect way to further your self-care to help put your lonely days behind you. It allows you to distract yourself from feeling lonely. It helps you realise that you won’t feel lonely forever and that the world actually offers beauty in nature for you to admire and opportunities in life for you to experience new things.
Avoid engaging in self-destructive behaviour – take care of your body instead
Feeling lonely can lead you to a dark place mentally and can result in you engaging in self-destructive behaviours. These include abusing alcohol and drugs and acting recklessly. It’s important to try and pinpoint why you’re feeling lonely. But if it feels like there is no logical reason, it’s best to talk to your GP to see if they can advise you. Abusing substances in order to alleviate the pain of feeling lonely will only make you feel worse, as these will leave you feeling more sad after the synthetic high wears off.
Instead, try to take care of your body and eat some nutritious food. Taking care of your body is an important way to take care of your mind. This will make you feel better within yourself. Exercise can help improve your mood without the drastic and harmful side affects that abusing alcohol and drugs will have on your mind and body. If you feel better physically, your mind will indubitably feel healthier and loneliness will have no way to thrive in your mind.
And Finally, Some More Advanced Tips:
Put on something other than pyjamas and meet up with your friends
Making plans to meet up with your friends and actually sticking to them is an important accomplishment within your self-care regime to overcome feeling lonely. While we all love the company of our friends, when you’re feeling down, it can be difficult to want to get out the house and socialise. However, acting out the routine of getting ready to go out – washing your face, brushing your teeth, putting clothes other than your pyjamas on, and maybe even putting on some makeup is a great way to start. Once you’ve completed your routine, you’ll more than likely be inclined to go out since you’re ready. Socialising will help your feelings of loneliness subside. Your friends will make you realise you’ve got people to talk to about how you’re feeling.
Be honest with yourself about why you’re feeling lonely and work towards a solution
One of the hardest things to do is to confront the truth about why you’re feeling lonely. It could run deep and be painful to confront. It could be to do with family issues that have left you feeling, in some sense, abandoned and therefore lonely. Or it could be that you simply feel as though no-one understands what you’re currently going through. Whatever the situation may be, in being brave and confronting the reason for feeling lonely, you’re in a more empowered position. Once you know the issue, you can work towards a solution. This may take time but will be worth it in the end. Your loneliness will subside since the deeper issue will be sorted out.
Self-care on lonely days can feel overwhelming at the best of times. Who has time to go for a coffee when your mind is consumed by feelings of loneliness? But while it may be difficult, the solution lies within the hardship. Loneliness is temporary and can be overcome by following tips such as the ones listed here. It may not happen instantly but it will happen. And while loneliness is not something any of us want to have to endure, it’s also a reminder that we’re human. Practice some of these self-care tips to help alleviate your feeling of loneliness. Remember – it’s better to achieve small goals and build towards bigger things than to crash and burn before you even start!