This is probably the most common question I’ve been asked lately. I understand why. Loneliness feels awful. Sometimes it just plain HURTS.
But I don’t know if a cure for loneliness even exists. Brene Brown says, “We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” So I guess you can try to get rid of your loneliness, but that might affect how you experience happiness later on. And though loneliness can be a difficult emotion to feel, I think it’s an important one. Loneliness reminds us of our humanity. It shows us that feeling connected to others is important. Loneliness can also provide a wonderful opportunity for healing, reflection, and growth.
That said, the following suggestions are not ways to numb your loneliness or distract you from it. These ideas are to get you moving. Because your number one priority should not be to avoid your pain or numb it.
It should be to create the most amazing life you can for yourself.
So let’s create that life, shall we?
1. Call someone you love: I’m quite partial to calling my grandma. She’s in her nineties and has dementia, so it means a lot to hear her voice and tell her I love her. I like to think it means a lot to her too.
2. Pick five friends and write them each a limerick: If someone wrote me a limerick, I’d hug them. And that’s saying a lot, since I’m no hugger. Not sure how? Watch this.
4. Dance in your underwear: Seriously. Might as well take advantage of being alone, right? If you need a playlist, check this one out.
5. GET OFF FACEBOOK!!!: Facebook has to be the worst way to spend your time when you’re feeling lonely. Stop looking at pictures of her wedding and her kids. Log out of Facebook and log back in to your life.
6. Find a place where you can volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to meet new friends, but it is also a good way to focus on someone else, instead of yourself.
7. Cry: Let it out as much as you need to.
9. Start a gratitude practice: Did you know that expressing gratitude correlates positively with happiness? It does! Each day for one month, a good friend and I shared one thing we felt grateful for with each other. Not only did I feel closer to my friend, but I felt happier and more appreciative of my life. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to adopt a gratitude practice. You can even download the Happier app to get started.
10. Check out meetup.com: Meetups can be a great way to meet new people who share your interests, especially if you live near a bigger city.
11. If you can’t be with friends, watch Friends: This show is, hands down, one of my favorite shows ever. My loneliness always seems to fade away when I’m watching Friends. Probably because they feel like my actual friends.
12. Read: Yes, I know not everyone likes to read, but if you do, commit to reading something new, somewhat challenging, and fun. I recently decided to read the whole Harry Potter series and I’m super pumped to make friends with the characters. I list a few of my favorite books here. And of course, you can check out my book too.
13. Enjoy this lovely video: If you do only one thing on this list, do this. You just might be inspired to tackle the world alone with a little more confidence.
14. Start a blog: If you’re into that kind of thing, I highly recommend it. I’ve met so many amazing friends from all over the world through blogging. If you’re in your twenties, here’s an awesome community to check out.
15. Create a vision board: What do you want your life to look like? Get some magazines, scissors, poster board, and glue and go to town. Hang your vision board up to remind you of the awesome life you’re creating and what fun things are still in store for you.
16. Move: Head to the gym. Go to the yoga studio. Jump on your bed. I don’t care, just move that wonderful body of yours. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. (And happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.)
17. Befriend an animal: If you have a pet, hug it — unless it’s a snake or a porcupine. For the rest of you, pet-sit a friend’s pet or visit an animal shelter. If you want, you can borrow my hyperactive hound dog, Walker.
18. Take a nap: Naps are awesome. Take one.
19. Drive: If you have a car, get in it and go somewhere new. Exploration can be exciting!
20. Practice some self-care: Check out this video to learn how.
21. Find a therapist or counselor: If your loneliness is really getting out of control, you might need some professional support. I help women heal, so if that happens to be you, check out the services I offer here. Be brave and reach out. You deserve support!
22. Engage in your SSB (Secret Single Behavior): What’s your SSB? Mine is eating cookies in bed while watching House Hunters. Unfortunately I rarely get to eat cookies in bed anymore because my husband doesn’t like the crumbs. That’s why I encourage you to do whatever it is you like to do when you’re alone as much as possible.
23. Take yourself out on a date: Taking yourself out ensures you’ll get to do something YOU like to do. My favorite solo date night is going to the movies by myself. What about you?
24. Own it: Own your loneliness. Don’t fear it. Don’t numb it. Acknowledge that it is a part of the human experience. Say it out loud:
Then breathe. Because just because you feel lonely doesn’t mean you are lonely. And just because you feel lonely now doesn’t mean you always will.
How do you best deal with loneliness?
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