There are times when we all feel lonely for one reason or another. Our friends and family are busy, and getting on with their own lives, and we feel as if we have been left in their shadows.
It doesn’t matter if you are surrounded by people, or on your own, the feeling of loneliness can creep in and create havoc with your emotions. If not stopped, you can fall into the trap of feeling that no-one cares, and that is a downward spiral to nowhere useful.
The feelings of loneliness can lead to other issues such as low mood, upset, anger as well as directly affecting your health.
What can you do to stop feeling lonely?
Learn to be kind to yourself
Treat yourself with the compassion and respect you show to others. Think about the things you can appreciate and accept about yourself. Remind yourself of these, every time your ‘inner critic’ starts to pipe up. Making friends with yourself will go a long way to helping you move away from the trap of loneliness.
Pick up the phone and call someone
Even if it seems like you are the only person that makes an effort to keep in touch. People are busy and tied up in their own lives and will be pleased to hear from you. If they are anything like me, when a friend reaches out, I often have been meaning to call them too – they have just gotten there first.
Make arrangements to see a friend
Accept that they are busy, and whilst they may not have visited you, it is probably because life got in the way and not because they don’t care. Get some dates in the diary to schedule some great meet ups to look forward to.
Start a journal
This is a great way to get your thoughts out of your head and onto a page. If there is a particular person that is in the centre of your thoughts of loneliness, write them a letter communicating your feelings. You don’t have to send it but it is a useful way to allow yourself to express what you are experiencing.
Do some voluntary work
Whether you do regular voluntary work, or just help out a neighbour, it is a great way to spend time with others. The added bonus is, you will feel great, doing something for someone else.
Try out a new hobby
The good thing about trying something new is, it will take your focus away from feeling lonely. This is especially true if you try something arty that completely absorbs you such as drawing or doing crafts. Colouring books are a great way to do this. There are some amazing ones available and they are useful tools for mindful practices.
Enjoy some ‘you’ time
If you find yourself on your own, think about the things you could do, just for you. What are the things that would nurture you and help you to find some peace and calm? I love listening to guided hypnosis or meditation and always feel amazing afterwards. There are so many available online from YouTube or with apps such as ‘HeadSpace’. This could also extend to you doing something like yoga, reading a good book or going for a run.
Get (or borrow) a dog
As many of you know, I have Bella in my life and she is brilliant company and I’m never lonely when she is around. A dog is the only creature that loves you more than they love themselves.
It may not be practical for you to own a dog, but you could always spend time with them, whether it is walking your neighbour’s dog, or volunteering at the local Dogs Trust. It’s a great way to get some fresh air, and you are never short of people to talk to – dogs are conversation magnets!
“Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.” Veronica Shofftshall