I’m 37 years old, self-employed, live alone, work from home and am still single since my last lonely post 2 years ago. Thankfully the loneliness is not as crippling as it was back then. In fact, it hasn’t been around for ages.
But every now and again the feeling shows its ugly face again to say hello, but I know it’ll be gone in a few days.
As I walked to an event through the bustling streets of London this evening, I wondered how many other passers by could be feeling the same as me?
A few days ago, I was chatting to a friend on the phone who was suffering from major burnout. She’s got an incredible life; a fantastic career, a man who adores her and from the outside has everything anyone could ever want. But even she is feeling lonely. Crumbs! If she’s feeling it, maybe there’s no hope for me (said in a jovial way, promise 😉).
Loneliness is a dreadful feeling. I get an actual pain in the lower part of my chest and tummy. To me, it can feel like a disease. I never know when it’s going to go away, and when I’m going to feel better.
It got me thinking to the last time I felt lonely and the things I did to make myself feel better and got me away from the blasted feeling.
I wrote this post as if I was giving advice to a friend – the truth is I’m actually writing this for me. But being on here, I figured it might also be useful for others.
9 Things to do to escape the feeling of loneliness.
Get those endorphins flowing.
Exercise releases feel-good hormones into the body and gives the mind a new focus.
There’ll be times where I’ll walk into the gym feeling like a 4/10 and leave an 8/10. For me, exercise is the best place to start.
Do stuff that makes you happy, whether that be playing an instrument, dance classes, art class, walking in nature, whatever. Preferably do your hobby in a group of people in order to hit the point below.
If you don’t have a hobby, find one!
- Make Time for Human Connections
Get off social media and put yourself amongst others. We are designed to be in a ‘tribe’ not in front of a computer screen!
Socialise, hangout, chill, do it all with other people.
- A). Avoid Burnout
Burnout blows everything out of proportion. It means you lose the ability to rationalise. Thought processes are affected, as is sleep and energy levels.
B) Find Balance
Work (reasonably) hard and rest hard – I find when my work is going well, it puts me in a better state of mind and I am less likely to feel lonely.
But, when we work hard we must find the balance and rest hard. Self-care is key! Get it right. In the past I’ve pushed so hard with work to take my mind of being lonely, I’ve made myself ill. Then I felt worse than ever!
- Eat Well
This last few days I’ve fallen into the trap of not eating well.
Whole foods, vitamins, minerals and nutrients are a wonderful thing and keep the body ticking over in a healthy state.
If I eat too much crappy food, my brain turns into mush and my thought process becomes foggy which has a negative effect on the way I feel.
- Accept the Lonely Feelings For What They Are
Trust that the feeling will pass – know that you won’t always feel like this.
For me, acceptance of any feeling, positive or negative takes the intensity away from it. I observe it as though someone else is experiencing it, seeing it through ration eyes. It separates the emotion from the feeling which gets me out of the vicious (downward) spiral.
- Tell a Friend
Sometimes letting the feeling out in words can often act as therapy. The added bonus is that the friend will know how you feel and can check in on you. This process can be healing.
If you are unsure if they will check in on you, be sure to ask them to do so. Often we think the people that know us are mind readers. They’re not. Sometimes they need a little guidance and a friendly reminder of what to do to make you feel better.
- Give Yourself Time to Feel Shit
In a world of PMA (positive mental attitude) and “you can do anything,” give yourself a set amount of time to feel sorry for yourself. You’re allowed to have a bad day, it’s natural. It’s human.
But give yourself a time limit for feeling poo. Be strict. My limit is 2 days. I’ll wallow, stay in my pj’s, not eat great, won’t exercise and find myself feeling sad when I watch TV or listening to music. But then on day 3, I’ll force myself to snap out of it and do the things I’ve talked about above.
It’s ok to not feel great, but it’s not ok to not feel great on a long term basis.
- Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
Take care of yourself and say nice things. Like you would do to a friend.
Many of us beat ourselves up in this crazy, mad, modern world.
Whatever you do, try not to get in that vicious cycle of not doing the things that make you happy. The feelings will just get worse.
I completely understand that the things I’ve talked about above aren’t going to be a miraculous cure for that crushing feeling of loneliness, but they will help!
Even if what I’ve mentioned don’t make you feel better, they will keep things on an even keel. It’s all about being proactive and not allowing those feelings to disrupt your life.
Ha! I really did just write this whole blog for myself.
To round off, and as I said in my last lonely post, I’m ok.
If you know me, please don’t text me asking how I am or saying you’re there. I’m fine. It’s just a feeling I get as a result of the ‘alone’ thing. Like most feelings, it’ll be gone soon.
If you’ve found this post helpful or know someone that might benefit, please pass it on.
If you have any additional tips, I’d love to hear from you on Twitter.
Thanks for reading.