Do you ever feel so lonely that it really hurts? Sometimes it happens spontaneously and immediately your whole mood changes. As a result, all your plans for the day go down the drain. Your social energy depletes also. This is now becoming more apparent because of the physical isolation we have to do. In this blog, let’s discuss what to do when you’re feeling lonely.
Being lonely is usually linked to being alone. But, this is not necessarily the case because we can feel lonely even if we are with friends. (This is awful)
So what is loneliness and why do we feel lonely?
Loneliness is social isolation. We feel this when there is a gap between our expectations from our relationships and what we truly experience. Basically, it happens when we are expecting something from our relationships and it doesn’t happen.
There are a lot of people who are in a relationship but are lonely. It’s because they’re expecting something in the relationship or from their partners that are not met.
Another example of this is our relationship with social media. Yes, we might have a lot of friends on social media but are we really interacting with them? We can also see other sets of friends having fun, and we expect this kind of bond for our group of friends but unfortunately, this is always not the case. Consequently, we feel lonely because we are not hanging out with our friends as they do.
On the other hand, there are single people who are not lonely because they have great relationships with themselves.
With this definition of loneliness, we can identify if we have relationships that make us feel lonely or if we have expectations that are too high. We can also reflect on our relationships with ourselves.
20 Things to do when you’re feeling lonely.
Feeling lonely is normal. There are just some days that are off. But, this can be troublesome if we want to be productive or when we have something important to do.
This is why we must know how not to be stuck in this and how to deal with this feeling.
1. Acknowledge it and embrace it
Loneliness is something we all try to run away from. I mean, look at us, talking about what to do when you’re feeling lonely. Just a heads up, we’re not trying to escape from this.
There is this notion that loneliness is only for losers or those without friends. This is definitely not true.
It is okay to feel lonely. Everyone feels lonely at some point. Denying it can just make it worse. By acknowledging it and embracing it, we can start getting over it.
2. Be realistic with your expectations
As mentioned earlier, loneliness happens when our expectations don’t meet our reality.
What can we do about this? Set realistic expectations.
Don’t expect that your partner will do some things when you don’t even communicate with them. You can’t expect your friends to be partying all the time when you’re all busy.
This also applies to your goals. You know yourself and you know what you’re capable of. It is definitely great to push yourself but it is equally important to know your limit.
3. Know that you’re not alone
Hey, just want to remind you that you have people around you that care for you. Yes, I know that this seems weird especially when you feel lonely but trust me, okay?
When we are lonely, we tend to focus on being alone that we forget about other people who were/are there for us. Remember?
And if this makes you feel better, know that somewhere around the world, there are a lot of people who are also lonely. You’re not alone in this.
4. Remember happy memories
Sometimes, when we are lonely, all we can think about are the times when we are sad. We often forget about those experiences that make us feel happy and great.
By looking back on our happy memories, we realize that we were not always lonely. There were also times when we had a great time with other people. Or that we achieved something.
Doing this can also remind us of the people who are there for us, our progress, and that our lives are not really that bad as compared to what is on our minds.
5. Keep a gratitude journal
Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way for us to focus on the positive things. Of course, when we feel lonely, it is hard to look at the bright side. This is why we need to push ourselves to look for something to be grateful for.
Aside from this, a gratitude journal can also be our source of happy memories. Whenever it seems like everything is so dark, we can look at our journals and see that we have some great things around us.
6. Practice solitude
There’s a difference between solitude and loneliness: the choice. We can be alone but not feel lonely because it is us who actually want to be alone.
By turning loneliness into solitude means that it is our choice to be by ourselves. It is not that people don’t like us, but because we love ourselves that we like spending time alone with ourselves. Practicing solitude is a great way to be comfortable with our own skins, get to know ourselves more, and find balance within.
Of course, it is not easy to do because we want to be with people and there is this fear of missing out or FOMO. It can also be intimidating because we don’t know what demon’s going to pop out of our heads. Let’s practice this slowly and learn how to be alone.
7. Practice self-love
When we feel lonely, there is this thought that no one loves us. This is absolutely false but sometimes, we can’t stop ourselves from thinking about this.
When we think like this and we find ourselves in that hole of self-pity, no one can really get us out of there but ourselves. This is why we have to learn how to love ourselves.
By practicing self-love, we are able to take care of ourselves, embrace and accept who we are, and forgive and be kind to ourselves.
8. Remember your favorites
Our favorites are there to cheer us up. So, let’s remember them
Favorite food, eat it. Favorite place, visit it. Favorite person, call them.
Our favorites will always be there to comfort us.
9. Limit social media usage
Social media is a great tool for us to connect with people. But, ironically, this is also one of the causes why we feel lonely.
As I mentioned before, loneliness is not really due to being alone. It is more on the quality of our relationships and the expectations we have. And you know where we get these crazy expectations from? Yup, social media.
Limiting our social media usage means we have to use it on the things that matter. Like, talking to our friends and getting updates from the people we love. We don’t have that time to check out others’ lives that we don’t really care about.
This way, we are more intentional about our social media usage. It can be hard since we are so used to it, but letting it go has so many benefits. Here are easy 6 ways to help us with this.
10. Try a new fun hobby
When we are alone, we can do whatever stuff that we want! This is a great opportunity to start a new hobby. By having a hobby, we keep ourselves engaged.
Think about this as a bonding time with yourself. So, plan something that you want to do that will make you enjoy yourself. This way, you’ll be more excited to be alone.
11. Be creative
Creativity is a great outlet for our emotions. We can draw, paint, or even just color a coloring book. Also, we can have fun with our journals or sing or dance.
We can also try something new. Maybe knitting, crochet or something else that can get those creative juices flowing.
I found this swear word coloring sheet hilarious. You may want to try it too if you want to release those curses in a creative way.
12. Push yourself to socialize
Let’s admit it, sometimes we feel lonely because we push other people away or we just don’t participate in social activities. If we want to be part of a group, we have to push ourselves to socialize.
We might get rejected but at least we took a risk. We can join other groups then. For sure, there is someone or a group that we can vibe with.
With this, we also have to remember our limit. When we feel like this event or group makes us feel worse, then maybe it’s time to take a pause and try again later.
13. Join a group or a class
Obviously, connecting with other people can definitely help us overcome loneliness. Joining a group or a class with the same hobbies as us can help us form bonds with others that have the same interests.
We can do this with friends or even strangers. The nice thing about this is that we learn something and get to know other people. When we find a group that we feel like home, that just hits differently.
14. Play with a pet
There is just something about pets that can cheer us up. I know that I’m not the only one who looks at dog or cat videos when I’m sad.
Having a pet can definitely help us fill that gap of loneliness. They will always be there for us. If you don’t have one, you may adopt! By doing so, you’ll be able to help one animal that can help you as well.
By having a pet, you’ll have this responsibility that makes you get out of your bed because you got to feed them. Or that you want to go home because there’s a pet waiting for you.
15. Get moving
Staying in bed and resting is totally okay. But, if we stay in for a long time, this can just make us feel worse. We will be lonelier if we sulk and think about how lonely we are.
Moving our bodies can release dopamine, which is a happy hormone. This doesn’t have to be intense. We can start by getting out of our beds, going to the kitchen to cook or bathroom to wash our face.
You may want to read this – Easy Workouts to do When You’re Feeling Down.
16. Fake laugh
“Fake it till you make it.” This works well when we want to trick our brains into thinking that we’re happy.
When we fake a smile or laugh, our brains think that we’re happy and release happy hormones. Of course, our brains will soon realize that we’re faking it and then we get sad again. But, before this happens, we can start doing or thinking about something that actually makes us happy like doing our favorites.
If this doesn’t work, fake laughing can actually make us laugh for real because it might sound funny. So, at least we get to laugh.
17. Do some act of kindness
This can be anything. It can be smiling at a stranger or paying for the coffee of the person behind you. If we feel more extroverted, we can have a quick chat with the guard in the lobby.
These can help us socialize with others but it also makes other people’s day better. When we know that we’ve somehow helped others, it can also make us feel good about ourselves.
18. Stick to a routine
Loneliness gets worse when we are bored and we don’t know what to do. By having a routine and sticking to it, we tend to not dwell on the feeling of loneliness because we have something to do.
Planning for a routine instills us that sense of control. We get to decide what we do in a day. Also, when we actually do our routine, we achieve this sense of accomplishment.
You may want to read this – Quarantine Routine Guide.
19. Go out
Staying inside when we feel lonely can just result in feeling lonelier. By going out, we can see other people, feel the warmth of sunlight, breathe fresh air, smell the food from the local restaurants.
20. Talk to a professional
There are many dark thoughts that can come up when we are lonely. And there are a lot of us who don’t know how to handle or process these.
By talking to a professional, we will be able to understand these feelings and maybe embrace these in a healthy way. Sure, a professional can’t get us out of loneliness, but they can definitely help us cope with it.
It’s okay to feel lonely.
Feeling lonely is normal and it is okay to feel this way. There’s no need to be ashamed of it. Remember, that there will always be times when we’re not okay.
This list gives you an idea on what to do when you’re lonely. Know that, it is you who can truly help yourself. But remember, you’re alone in this. There are people who care for you and you can always reach out for help.
Share in the comment section what you do to overcome your loneliness. Let’s give each other ideas!
Rooting for you,
Meredith Blaise ♡