I bet you are familiar with loneliness too. Well, as people living through a pandemic, aren’t we all?
It’s almost inevitable, especially when the words “social distancing” come up.
Maybe, you even feel lonely right now, as in right at that moment, while you’re reading these letters. Can’t blame you, I’m so used to the feeling I barely pay attention to it – and it’s been a habit for years. Is that what they mean with “2020 is an introverts’ heaven”? (I wish it was though)
But, like with other negative thoughts, sometimes loneliness just has to show up and take over my mind. Friends? Family? Cats? There are days when even they can’t help. Then, you don’t have another choice but to take the matter into your own hands and figure out what to do.
And if you need a helping hand, let me guide you through these 7 simple steps that always help me! They are quite obvious in places but trust me, sometimes a simple solution is all you need.
Find Out Why
First and foremost, you feel lonely for a reason – and no, I’m not talking about being alone. You can feel lonely anywhere and with anyone, and let me tell you, being lonely in a crowd is the worst.
When there’s no one around, you can focus on yourself and not worry about others’ gazes or comments. “You look so distant”? Ugh, the worst.
Try to figure yourself out. Use your loneliness.
There’s no one to bother you, so take your time and analyze the situation. Are you alone? Do you have friends you can talk to? Do you have a partner but haven’t seen them for too long? Or maybe you live far from your family and just miss the weekly gatherings?
There are plenty of reasons to feel lonely – and that’s okay, we all feel that way sometimes, and I mean all, every single person, so don’t feel bad for talking about it. Text your friends, call your significant other, let people know you feel lonely. In the end, we all are social distancing, so now it’s more understandable than ever.
But what if you have no one to reach out to? Or you know that they won’t understand? Or you already tried, but it didn’t work out, and you still feel like something is missing?
Well, then it’s time to dive into that sweet self-care and learn how to appreciate every moment of solitude.
Listen to Music
The best way to kick out the negative thoughts is to get rid of silence.
Don’t get me wrong, silence is as healing as the most beautiful piece of music! But if loneliness is a bit too heavy for you right now, if you aren’t ready to deal with everything that comes with silence – try to fill it with something pleasant.
Listen to music, and I mean listen to it.
Find your favorite artists on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, whatever works for you, plug the earphones in, close your eyes – and just listen. Let the music flow around you. Let the words take your mind off things.
Do you know that there’s always someone else who listened to that song, maybe, was feeling just the same? Let that sink in. Let the music guide you.
But what if you don’t have that one artist that immediately comes to mind? Or maybe you just don’t feel like listening to their songs?
I got you. I love songs, but most of the time I want peace. My mind wants to rest instead of focusing on the lyrics, no matter how much I like them in the first place. So, what to do then?
Classics. Lofi. Nature sounds.
You can find plenty of compilations and playlists that fit your mood. Slow and melancholic, deep and emotional, light and uplifting. Find what you like more, what makes you feel better. Try different genres, different musicians, different channels on YouTube. I’m not a fan of ASMR – but it can work for you, so try it as well!
Keep in mind that you can always turn the music off, so why not give it a go?
Or color – mandalas became popular for a reason.
Let your inner artist out. The beginner pack is a piece of paper and a pencil. But don’t be shy to raise your level: markers, liners, painting manuals, and coloring pages. We all loved to color as kids, but now you have a new world of tools to explore.
Imagine how excited your inner child will be!
Pro-tip? Merge these first two points. Turn the music on, choose a piece of art you’ll be creating, and let yourself immerse in the process.
Want another reason to try? It helps with anxiety.
These two activities mixed together create a soft flow of thoughts in your head. They’ll allow you to focus on the present moment, on what your hands are doing, and what your ears are hearing. It’s like having a quiet, comfortable place in your mind – and sometimes that’s all you need.
Wanna try something cool? Check out my coloring cards!
I made coloring pages with little self-care tips and positive affirmations to lift the mood while you’re busy with pencils and markers. You can even cut them out (there are 4 of these on each page) and keep somewhere close to make yourself smile:)
They are a part of my library of freebies. Sign up down below and grab them (and plenty of other good stuff) right now!
I bet you heard it so many times, but let me recap just once more – books and movies can be friends. Not people-friends (though there are books I feel personally attached to) but companions and soulmates.
Does it even make sense?
I hope so because for me it definitely does.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been practicing dealing with loneliness for years, and the first thing I do when it reappears is remembering what I was leaving for “later”.
That long video-essay about a game I never played? That article I kept in bookmarks for years but have never had time to read? That story I already read 4 times, but just need to check details once again, because the author might’ve hinted at something? Oh, wait, and what about that whole folder of movies I can’t stop rewatching?
Bring. It. On.
Feeling down is the best time to dive into all the “unproductive” things you were keeping in the bookmarks. Do something for yourself – there’s no one else to focus on anyway.
Write Down Your Thoughts
Whatever goes through your mind – open a notebook (or an app, doesn’t matter) and just write. This helps in clearing your thoughts tremendously.
I don’t want to lie though: I’m really bad at this. There are so many diaries all over my house, with the first couple of pages full of awkward sentences and nothing after. I was never good at talking about myself, even with myself.
But I found my own solution – and no, I don’t mean starting a blog, though it’s an option too.
I’m writing fiction (from time to time).
Since I was 12, imagining myself in a fantasy world and even writing a few pages of something without a name or purpose was my way to deal with loneliness.
Of course, I don’t mean you have to do the same. Writing is hard, especially when you’re doing it for the first time, especially when you don’t even know what to write, but here’s the thing.
No one will judge you. No one will even see your thoughts, unless, of course, you’ll decide to share them.
But the words will help you understand what’s going on in your mind, and sometimes that’s all you need to feel better.
I know you’ve heard how great it is.
I know you’ve read about all kinds of positive effects.
Maybe you’ve thought about giving it a go – or maybe not. I definitely didn’t, not until one month ago.
But then I tried, and oof, is it actually good!
We are focusing on ourselves here, right? We are using this time of loneliness to think more, create more, explore more – and stress less. Meditation does exactly that! It helps you to focus on the present moment, on your thoughts and feelings, on you as a whole.
You don’t need other people to meditate – you need only time and your mind. And, oh look, you have both!
Nowadays there are plenty of sources for beginners, from video courses on YouTube to quick instructions on Pinterest. I decided to start with an app, and it worked for me – you can check the whole post on my experience here.
Start with a short 5-10 minutes session and see if it works for you.
The result will not be immediate, maybe you won’t feel anything at all. But learning how to focus on the present is crucial for finding a way to appreciate solitude.
Don’t Force Yourself to Be Happy
Last but not least.
I’ve seen many people mentioning it with social distancing, but honestly, it’s something we all should always remember.
Don’t force yourself to be something you can’t be at that moment.
Don’t listen to happy songs, don’t draw smiley faces, don’t watch comedies, don’t write how much you love the current moment – if that’s not how you feel.
We all feel lonely sometimes. We all feel like the world doesn’t want to hear us – especially when you’re an introvert.
Allow yourself to be sad. Admit that you miss someone. Think about what you want.
These lonely moments give you a chance to explore yourself, to explore your connections, to see what moves you and what helps you.
Don’t feel bad about it. Grab that chance and learn a new lesson on what it’s like to be you, because hey, we always have something to learn from ourselves.