Last Updated on January 15, 2021 by Creative Parenting
Editor’s note: This was originally written before the pandemic. Some of the tips described might now have to take place over Zoom, but we’ve added a couple of ideas that you can do virtually!
It seems we are all trying to figure out how to overcome loneliness these days…
Now there isn’t a a magic cure.
But feeling lonely doesn’t have to be a permanent part of your life.
Yet because of the pandemic, it’s more common than ever before.
Whether because of social distancing, more time at home, or the general state of the world:
Loneliness Is Pervasive
And to say this is a bummer would be an epic understatement.
With the pandemic still with us, we have to be on guard.
It’s not just about the feeling, either.
The side effects that come with feeling lonely are not minor!
Persistent loneliness can go hand in hand with seasonal affective disorder and depression.
Now, some folks might argue the pandemic has led to a loneliness epidemic.
Others might argue the pandemic simply accelerated existing trends.
Either way, these are tough times.
We must all be on guard against loneliness. If you’re not paying attention, it can creep up and surprise you.
Like a slow moving avalanche, it’ll start small and then roll into something big.
How To Prevent It
One way you can prevent loneliness is by understanding the phenomenon better.
Consider this definition of loneliness from the University of Chicago:
“Loneliness is a state of mind characterized by a dissociation between what an individual wants or expects from a relationship and what that individual experiences in that relationship.”Article here
The key points here?
It’s a state of mind. It’s dissociation. And it’s about relationships.
A sign of loneliness begins with that feeling when you don’t feel like yourself.
And when that happens? It’ll affect other areas of your life too.
For example, when you’re feeling lonely, you can dip into unproductive habits and that can affect work or school.
That can turn into a negative feedback loop that feeds off of itself.
You feel low, so you don’t do anything productive, and then feel lousy. So you isolate, and feel lonely all over again.
It’s a terrible cycle to break.
In Britain It’s So Serious They Did This:
It’s not simply an American problem either…
Did you know that Britain once dedicated a “Minister for Loneliness?”
That’s how seriously some countries are taking the epidemic of loneliness!
This minister’s job is to take what Prime Minister Theresa May has named the “sad reality of modern life” and try and change things.
That’s how pervasive loneliness is in the modern world.
So if you are dealing with how to overcome loneliness, know that you are NOT alone.
Recent research has shown that it’s not only a problem of the mind and soul.
Studies have linked loneliness to health problems.
The CDC for example has said that loneliness puts people at risk for “dementia and other serious health problems.”
So, if you are experiencing loneliness, don’t shrug it off.
And do do know there are practical things you can do about it (even during a pandemic!):
How To Overcome Loneliness
Now, some people might say, “pull yourself together and get on with life!”
But it’s not that easy.
And that’s not the best strategy for how to overcome loneliness.
But know this:
You can take steps to improve things.
If you’re dealing with loneliness this year and looking for ideas…
Start with some of these:
Engage Your Mind By Doing This
Take a class in something that you love, like art, or music, or the outdoors.
With the rise of online education, there’s more options today than ever before.
Consider joining a club where you can find like-minded people, learn to share ideas, and make new friends who are doing the same thing you love to do.
It’s good to have something to look forward to during the week! So make it a regular part of your schedule.
Cultivate Good Vibes With This Free Activity
Becoming a volunteer for a cause you believe in can do wonders for your morale.
There are after school programs, retirement homes, and animal care shelters that always need help.
This is an excellent way you can develop a sense of gratitude for all the good things you have in your own life.
Even if you aren’t leaving house because of the pandemic, you could still volunteer virtually to socialize with nursing home residents.
Use The New Digital Reality To Get Beyond Your Social Circle
Because loneliness is a widespread issue, there’s a lot of people online searching for someone to connect with.
Be careful though when sharing personal info. Fortunately, there are many legit online sites where you can meet people who share your same interests.
Seek out activities that interest you. Then, find a group of people that you relatewith, for dinner outings, hikes, or socializing.
Even if you’re an introvert, it’s good to get out every once in a while (or talk to people virtually!).
Don’t just stay cooped up in the house during the short days and dark nights ofwinter.
Don’t Forget This Big Part Of Your Life
You probably have people in your life already that you would love to get to know better.
Or people who were once a big part of your life yet who you haven’t talked to in a while.
Call them up. Or text. Or message.
Reach out to them. Even if you haven’t talked to them in a while they’ll probably be delighted to hear from you.
We are all busy these days, so don’t wait for someone else to reach out to you and let them be the decider.
Take action! And find ways to strengthen your existing relationships.
You might think: “But they aren’t calling me!”
Well, what if they are waiting for you to call?
And in these days of social distancing, if you aren’t able to physically see them, then instead you might want to:
Consider These Special Roommates
Dogs and cats as companions are just that:
Wonderful and precious companions that will befriend you, no matter what.
In terms of easiest things to do to help with how to overcome loneliness, this one will probably give you the fastest results!
If you take care of them and show them love, they’ll love you back even more!
When you rescue a pet from a shelter to bring home, you get a friend for life!.
Just remember it works both ways:
Your pet will require what you are longing to find, – friendship.
…so don’t leave them alone for long.
Give them as much attention as you would like to get!
If you’ve tried all these tips and still find yourself struggling, then it might be time to
Spend Some Money In This Healthy Way
Sometimes, getting out there and meeting people doesn’t completely get rid of loneliness.
So, it’s comforting to know there are professionals who can help you.
If you feel low beyond any length of time, or if you don’t enjoy daily activities as you used to.
Talking to a professional can help.
With the right support and advice, a mental health professional can help you to face your challenges with the care and support you need.
Now one downside to this is it does cost money. And it often isn’t cheap. But it’s an investment in your health!
And with their support, you can work through challenges to get into a better headspace. This will help you connect again with things that give you purpose and inspiration.
A related habit to this is journaling on a daily or weekly basis. By putting your thoughts on paper, you can get them off your chest in a way that’s similar to therapy.
And, finding inspiration can be as simple as writing in a journal on a daily or weekly basis.
One way to do this is to write about things that you are grateful for. On a side note, practicing gratitude is an excellent way to combat loneliness.
Make A New Community Of Pals
Lately we’ve been feeling more than a bit isolated ourselves.
It’s a downer for sure. While doing the dishes the other day, I remembered a networking site that used to seem kinda weird…
…”but what if they’re doing virtual events now?” I wondered.
And sure enough, they are.
Whether you’re looking for a book club, a happy hour, a hiking club, or something else, you can find a TON of options to socialize virtually during this crazy pandemic.
We’re talking about Meetup.com.
While once a site for oddballs and niche fans, the options now to join different groups are more than ever before.
Check it out here (non affiliate link!).
With the pandemic, social distancing, isolation, and economic challenges, it’s almost hardly a surprise that loneliness is more pervasive.
Yet that doesn’t diminish how it can make everything else in life challenging! If you’re feeling loneliness, know that you can take steps to mitigate it, and reach out.
Drop us a note below and let us know:
What are some ways you’ve found effective for how to overcome loneliness?