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How to Overcome Loneliness in the Moment

how to overcome loneliness
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / RoonZ-nl

Humans are a social species, which is why it’s so hard for us to thrive if we don’t feel connected to the ones around us. Learn how to overcome loneliness and change your state of mind during difficult times.

It’s quite ironic that even though we live in a virtually connected world, many of us can feel lonely from time to time, and we often don’t know how to overcome loneliness and break that cycle. Major life changes such as moving to a different city or country, changing workplaces or careers, or breaking up with a partner can make us feel especially lonely and separate from others. Loneliness is a painful feeling, and if it happens during a long period of time it can lead to both mental and physical health issues, such as personality disorders, depression, sleep problems, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and more.

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t made things easy when it comes to socialization and relationships. We’ve found ourselves spending little to no time with family and friends, working 100% remotely, and even self-isolating if we were at risk. For these reasons and many more, it is very common to feel lonely during such a hard time in our lives, and more people than what you may think have felt lonely at some point during the past couple of years. As we start to slowly get back into “normal life”, you now have the chance to re-establish some of those connections. In this article, we’ll give you 11 tips on how to overcome loneliness and help you feel more connected to others again.

1. Practice Daily Self-Kindness & Self-Care

Start practicing self-kindness to overcome loneliness.
Start practicing self-kindness to overcome loneliness.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / kalyanayahaluwo)

The first tip on how to overcome loneliness is learning self-love. Learning how to love yourself is essential and will help you navigate through difficult times and overcome problems that happen from time to time. However, you don’t have to wait for a difficult time or situation to arise to be kind to yourself. Start by practicing self-care on daily basis, in whatever form it works best for you; eating nourishing and balanced meals, doing mindfulness meditation exercises, practicing hatha yoga, working out, or journaling. By making self-care a habit in your life, you can improve your state of mind and your confidence, and you will feel stronger and more capable of dealing with unwanted situations.

2. Practice Gratitude

Keep a gratitude journal to help you feel happier.
Keep a gratitude journal to help you feel happier.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / iqbalnuril)

Practicing gratitude helps us bring awareness to what we have as opposed to what we lack. Learning how to practice gratitude can have a positive impact in our bodies, minds, and relationships both with ourselves and with others. According to research by UC-Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, practicing daily gratitude, in the form of keeping a gratitude journal and writing reflections on what we are grateful for, can increase our overall well-being and life satisfaction. He states that your happiness can improve by practicing gratitude on regular basis, and it has many physical, psychological, and social benefits – including feeling less lonely and isolated.

3. Make Your Alone Time More Meaningful

Appreciate your alone time and make the best out of it.
Appreciate your alone time and make the best out of it.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / silviarita)

The difference between aloneness and loneliness is that while the first one can help us bring more presence and self-reflection to our lives, the second one has negative effects on our health. We can feel lonely even when surrounded by people, just like we can also feel good during our alone time. However, we don’t always know how to spend alone time in a meaningful way that can be beneficial for us. Taking the time to explore aloneness from a positive perspective can help you shift the focus from feeling lonely to appreciating your alone time. Keep in mind that cultivating relationships and staying connected with others is just as important as looking inwards and staying connected to yourself. There are some techniques that can help you take time for yourself, such as:

  • Exercising as a way of self-care
  • Having a night-time routine to help you sleep better
  • Spending time in nature
  • Reducing stress as much as possible
  • Doing something that brings YOU joy and fulfillment.

4. Create More Social Moments

Engage in more social moments to connect with others.
Engage in more social moments to connect with others.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Dimhou)

Another way how you can overcome loneliness is by connecting with your loved ones and befriending new people. If due to your current circumstances you are in need to prioritize your social life, do so. Make it a habit to create and engage in more social moments whether that is with family members, meeting friends, classmates, or coworkers, joining a sports team or another social circle or club. Try to join a group of like-minded people who share similar interests as you and put yourself out of your comfort zone to break that loneliness cycle you are in.

5. Bring Your Home Office to a Coffee Shop

Get your work done surrounded by others, such as in a coffee shop.
Get your work done surrounded by others, such as in a coffee shop.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / StockSnap)

Are you currently working from home, and that makes you feel isolated? Or do you study online, and you don’t get to interact with classmates in a real classroom? If you spend most of your day alone because your life situation demands it, it is especially important that you ensure some social activities throughout your week. On days that you are feeling lonelier than others, try moving your workspace to to a coffee shop and be surrounded by others instead of sitting at home by yourself. Even though you’ll be working on your own, doing it in a different environment alongside other people can feel quite comforting.

6. Volunteer

How to overcome loneliness? Volunteer and support a good cause.
How to overcome loneliness? Volunteer and support a good cause.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / 5033181)

Wondering how to overcome loneliness and meet new people at the same time? Volunteer! Find an organization that supports a cause you resonate with and sign up for volunteering. This will give you a chance to meet people sharing similar values or interests than you – and, on top of socializing with others, volunteering can bring you a lot of personal fulfillment as well. You can find volunteer opportunities in your community, in environmental organizations, or you can even check out opportunities to volunteer virtually.

7. Don’t Take Friendships for Granted

Make time for the people who matter in your life.
Make time for the people who matter in your life.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Polifoto)

It’s possible to feel lonely even though we are connected to lots of people at work, school, clubs and organizations, as well as family.  However, the pandemic has challenged us and our relationships, until the point where technology was needed to stay connected to one another. Perhaps before lockdown we took some relationships for granted, knowing that friends and relatives were always there and seeing them was always a possibility. Now, and moving forward, you have the chance to actively maintain your friendships, and even make new ones. Next time you feel lonely, remind yourself that you are not fully alone, and take some time to appreciate the amazing people you have in your life instead of what and who you may lack.

8. Go on a Walk

Going on walks can help you improve your overall wellbeing.
Going on walks can help you improve your overall wellbeing.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Sammy-Sander)

In addition to the physical activity itself, there are many benefits of walking that can might help you overcome loneliness. It can help boost your mood and improve your mental and emotional wellbeing. So, if you are currently struggling with feelings of loneliness, consider walking as a daily activity that can have a good impact on your health – mental, physical, and emotional. 

9. Set Social Media Boundaries

Set social media boundaries or take a digital detox.
Set social media boundaries or take a digital detox.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / AzamKamolov)

It is quite contradictive yet true that even though social media is supposed to keep us connected to each other, it can have just the opposite effect. Constant virtual connections can often make us feel lonelier, perhaps because by being virtually hyperconnected we are taking less time to work on meaningful, genuine relationships with people.

On top of that, being continuously exposed to what seems like other people’s “perfect life” on social media platforms can also lead us to entering the negative cycle of comparing ourselves and our lives with others’, which can also lead to feelings of loneliness. The truth is, nobody’s life is perfect, even though in online platforms it may seem like it, and everyone is dealing with something that you don’t know, just like you.

If you are feeling especially lonely, consider setting healthy social media boundaries or even taking a digital detox and see if it makes a difference. Make time for your offline friends and family and prioritize those relationships for your mental health.

10. Contact Long-Distance Friends

How to overcome loneliness: Stay in touch with your long-distance friends.
How to overcome loneliness: Stay in touch with your long-distance friends.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / VinzentWeinbeer)

Another way to feel less lonely is to stay connected with the people you care about, even if they are far away. Just like prioritizing your offline friendships can help you boost your mood and feel better overall, maintaining your long-distance friendships can also have a great effect in your mental and emotional wellbeing. Make it a habit and consider setting up a monthly call with your college squad, a weekly check-in call with your globe-trotting best friend, or any other fun idea that you believe can help you stay connected to those who truly matter to you.

11. Get Out into Nature

Spending time in nature can boost your mood and improve your psychological well-being.
Spending time in nature can boost your mood and improve your psychological well-being.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / alfcermed)

Did you know that spending time in nature can improve your psychological well-being? Research shows that nature experiences are associated with mental health benefits, such as improved sleep and reductions of stress and anxiety, which are major risk factors for the development of mental illnesses. On a day when you are feeling lonely, get outside and go on a nature walk if you can, or spend some time outdoors – whether it is a picnic, playing an outdoor sport, or simply jogging or walking, spending time in nature can help you get out of your head and boost your mood.

Overcoming Loneliness Long-Term

It is normal to feel lonely sometimes, and the truth is that we all do from time to time. For some it is due to a big life change, and for others it can be a side effect from seasonal affective disorder or some other personal circumstance. However, keep in mind that if your feelings of loneliness stay for long periods of time, they can have a negative impact on your mental health. For this reason, if it doesn’t go away and/or you feel anxious or depressed, we recommend you ask for help to a mental health professional. They can help you navigate through those feelings and overcome them.

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Important Information regarding Health-related Topics.

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