The holiday season is upon us. This is the time of year where many people feel happy and enjoy all the festivities, but what about those who are having a tough time? This is also the time of year where other people feel lonely and sad. Maybe you are not in a relationship. Or you cannot be around family or the people who used to soothe you. Maybe you are trying to recover from a breakup or a divorce.
I remember going through my own divorce and how sad I was. It was Thanksgiving. It was windy outside and I remember seeing couples everywhere; as if they were taunting me and what I previewed as a failure. They made me feel even sadder that I did not have my husband. I did not live close to my family nor could I travel to see them. I remember thinking why didn’t I just stay in that marriage. I should’ve stayed until after the holiday season. We do this at times, don’t we? Questioning and even justifying why we should’ve stayed around in a unless relationship that brought nothing but sadness on many days. Have you been there before?
Well, today I want to give you some hope! Know that you do not have to feel lonely even if you are alone. Even if you are not in a relationship. Even if you are not around your family and friends.
Today I am going to give you 5 ways not to feel lonely even when you are alone. There are a lot of people who are in relationships that feel alone as well, so this article is not only for those who are single. There are people who feel lonely when they are around their family and amongst friends, because they feel others around them do not understand them, so they cannot be present and show up to be their true authentic self.
All of the things mentioned today are all about practicing them so you can reap the benefits of not feeling lonely.
Start with small interactions.
Starting small can help you get out of your funk. When you are in the store and you are buying your groceries or gifts, ask the sales clerk “how are you doing today?” We live in the hustle and bustle world and have a life to live but if you are feeling lonely take the time to see how someone else’s day is going. Take a moment to stop and look that person in the eye and really find out how he/she is doing. Research has shown that when we ask that question (how are you doing?) we are too busy to actually listen to the answer because we are on to the next destination or thing. It is not that we do not want to hear how that person is actually doing but we have become so accustomed to moving so fast to keep up and make sure we take care of the next thing. Start small to open up the conversation with people you do not know. You never know the day that the other person is having. If you take the time to slow down your day for those few moments you may impact someone’s day in the best way possible.
Hangout with like-minded people.
Your like-minded friends are going to get you to open up, to laugh, to see the brighter side of things, to enjoy your time, so you are not sitting at the house moping on your couch in your pajamas. If you are feeling lonely, being alone is the worst thing you can do because your mind starts to play tricks on you and you replay all those stories that you are telling yourself about why you are lonely; why no one cares; why no one has invited you to X. The majority of the time that someone has invited me to something I did not want to attend when I got dressed and showed up, I had a wonderful time. I was always happy when I went even if we were doing something that I did not like. Being around other like-minded individuals made all the difference in the way I felt. If you like to dance call your dancing friends. If you want to attend church then call your church friends. If you like karaoke then call your karaoke friends. Figure out what you want to do and call that group of people. Even if you hang out with this group of friends for a few short hours you will be in a much better state of mind and appreciate the interactions.
If you are feeling like you want to connect but do not want to leave the comfort of your own home, then get online.
Get online in groups where you can let down your hair and be your true authentic self. It does not have to be on your page, but maybe you are in some FaceBook groups where you can hang out with like-minded people online instead of in person. You can enjoy this time in your pajamas, with a glass of wine or hot chocolate, where you are still engaging with other people. Another way to connect without leaving your house is to set up a zoom call, FaceTime or Skype the people you love. An additional way to be yourself and connect in the comfort of your home is to join a forum. There is a forum that may interest you to check out called The ReachOut Forums. This is a place where you can be anonymous while getting the support you need from people who have experienced or are experiencing what you are going through.
Start to schedule weekly social activities.
The reason why scheduling activities are important is because this will give you something to look forward to doing. It will give you something to put a little pep in your step for the rest of the week. Start to go online now and search through FaceBook events or Eventbrite to find out what is going on in your city in order to add events to your day/evening, especially if you know that you get into this sad state. This is a way to ward off those lonely feelings. Make this year and holiday season different. Schedule one event per week AND show up to do the things you schedule.
A. You are not the only one who is thinking what can I do today.
B. You never know who you will meet.
C. It could be someone for social hangouts or your next lover.
You have to take charge of your life and put yourself in different situations and surround yourself by other people to increase your chances of meeting another human. Scheduling activities will put you in a better state of mind and brings you back to life.
Maybe you want to put on your helping hat. Go volunteer!
You can go and serve other people. Show yourself it is not always about you. Once you give you feel so much better about yourself and about your situation. Plenty of times the person or people you are helping has it worse off than yourself. Volunteering takes the attention off of yourself so you can get out of that ‘woe is me’ state of mind and you get a chance to help someone else and put a smile on their face. Check out GoVolunteer.com for more information on where to volunteer.
All being said do something to increase your chances of not giving into those sad feelings this holiday season. Make plans in advance and stick to them. You will feel more connected and alive when you take charge and make sure your mental health is in check.
Life & Relationship Strategist