I am surprised by the number of people who tell me that they don’t like being alone. Often, as a result, they end up in relationships with people who are abusive, negligent or just plain selfish. This is so sad as there are many things that can be done to solve the loneliness situation. The most important is to make sure that you don’t just passively accept loneliness. Do something!
1. Have a sleep – Most people are more emotional and make the worst decisions when they are tired. Things always look better in the morning after a good rest.
2. Join a club – Think of something that interests you and then find other people who have the same interest. There probably isn’t one activity that you can think of that doesn’t have an organization or group who support and encourage each other.
3. Volunteer – Millions of dollars in wages are saved each year because of volunteers. In fact, many things would not even be possible if it wasn’t for people who are willing to donate their time and energy to help others and ensure that events are manned.
4. Take a class – What have you always wished that you knew how to do? Would you like to learn to paint, run a computer or cook Chinese food? The world is your oyster and now, with the internet, there likely isn’t anything that you cannot learn.
5. Contact a family member or friend – A telephone call, letter or email can brighten the life of someone who you care about and open up a conversation that is mutually beneficial.
6. Begin a neglected task – Do you have photos to sort, drawers to clean or recycling to do? It is usually hard to start but once you have begun time will pass and you will feel a sense of accomplishment.
7. Get a pet – Having another living creature in your world can be very comforting. You will not only have companionship but also give you purpose as you will have someone besides yourself to look after.
8. Go for a walk – Being in the outdoors gives you opportunity to improve your health and your perspective. You will enjoy nature, notice things that are going on in your neighbourhood and also wake up the dormant endorphins which are your natural mood enhancers.
9. Apply for a job – Work is one of the best medicines on earth. It gives you a reason to get up in the morning, get dressed and meet other people. At the end of the day you will be tired and also have some coins to jingle.
10. Find a person who is lonelier than you – When my sister was in the nursing home, I was saddened by the number of residents who never had visitors. I recently had a young man on my caseload who was seriously injured and unable to work. He was bored and frustrated. I suggested that he visit a nursing home near his house. He was hesitant at first but quickly began to feel welcome when people who he hadn’t previously known greeted and drew near to him. One man making regular visits to lonely people brightened the lives of many including himself!
If you are lonesome it is important that you never depend on someone else to fill that need for you. It is your responsibility to make healthy choices. You may have to try a few different things until you find the right solution but, before you know it, you will wonder how you had ever felt lonely in the first place!