A client recently said to me- loneliness is like being underwater while everyone around you is breathing. You can feel lonely by yourself or in a group. Loneliness is usually temporary, but it feels like forever when you are in the middle of it.
Acknowledge how you feel
You’re not alone in feeling alone. Loneliness is a common experience ￼for most people at some time in their lives. The first step in combating loneliness, as in all challenges, is to acknowledge your feelings.
Talk to strangers
A growing body of research suggests that even seemingly trivial interactions with stranger, like chatting with a barista or server, may be able to keep loneliness at bay by helping us feel more socially connected. So reach out to other human beings to say hello, or ask them how they are. These small acts can make a big difference and help you reduce feelings of loneliness.
Join a community of practice
Finding or creating a community of practice is a great way to not only combat loneliness, but also continue to grow professionally and personally. Peer-to-peer learning is so powerful. In Buddhist thought, your Sangha, or like-minded community, helps you stay focused and on track with personal and spiritual goals.
Seek out an accountability partner
One way to manage loneliness is to seek out an accountability partners so that you can meet, talk regularly, share your goals and hold each other accountable for achieving results- personal, professional, or fitness and health. One colleague goes over the wins and losses of the week every Friday with an accountability buddy. Discussing Ws and Ls can be a ￼ powerful connection and motivator.
Volunteer remotely or in real life
Working on an important problem with others can help you decrease loneliness. Volunteering for a cause or activity that is meaningful to you also puts you in touch with others who share your values and interests.
Set aside one hour per week to learn something new
Taking an online course or training often includes a social component of discussion and interaction. Learning something new or obtaining a certification makes us feel like we are part of a like-minded community.
Read a new book
Books are a great companion. You can immerse yourself in whatever format you prefer, digital, audio, or print, and you are transported to something that interests or intrigues you.
Take care of something
Putting energy towards taking care of something will help alleviate feelings of loneliness. Be that a pet or a plant, the responsibility of maintaining life is inspiring and motivating. Companion animals are also great emotional comforters and cuddle buddies.
Get extra hours of sleep
Getting enough sleep is very beneficial to your health, so spend some down time resting.
Take on art projects
Whether you like to paint, sculpt, draw, compose, write, or color, do things that allow you to be creative. Lots of adults tell me they can’t express their creativity at work. Art is a very positive outlet, ￼and finding a craft that you love can lead you to a whole community of others who also enjoys it.
Work on your personal spirituality
Regardless of what religion you practice, alone time is a great opportunity to work on your spirituality. That looks different for everyone. If you don’t practice a religion but want to get in touch with yourself, it’s the perfect time for self-discovery and growth.
Try new recipes
Cooking a nourishing meal or even doing meal prep for the work week￼is a healthy way of giving a gift to yourself.
Call your loved ones
Try to call or FaceTime at least one close friend or family member every day, and text others regularly. That sense of daily connection can keep loneliness at bay, ￼ even if you are home by yourself.
For more tips see Eight Tips to Fight Loneliness During Holidays.