Virtually everyone experiences loneliness from time to time, it can be especially noticeable around the holidays and times of extreme stress. However, people don’t always talk about feelings of loneliness and don’t always know what to do with these feelings.
Whether you live by yourself or simply feel disconnected from your loved ones, there are things you can do to feel better. Here are some tips and ideas to help you feel connected.
Acknowledge your feelings
It’s normal to feel lonely sometimes, but there’s a major stigma around admitting it.
Talking about your feelings can feel shameful and daunting at first, but it can often be a big relief to have friends and family understand that you need some extra support. Remember: it doesn’t help to suppress your feelings or isolate yourself further by hiding the fact that you’re struggling.
Plan some activities in your diary
One of the most effective ways to kill loneliness is to develop a plan of action. If you usually rely on other people to suggest meeting up, be the person in your friendship group who takes the initiative to look around for local events and exhibitions that you can all enjoy together.
Just knowing that you have the power to change things in the future can help to ease the feelings of helplessness that often come with loneliness.
Find support online
Loneliness is a widespread issue, so there are many people online looking to connect with others.
Find people with similar interests by joining Facebook to look up old friends or join Meetup groups focused on your passions. Check to see if any websites you frequent have a social element or discussion board to join.
You do have to be careful of who you meet over the internet (and, obviously, don’t give out any personal information such as your bank account number), but you can find real support, connection, and lasting friendships from people you meet online.
Join a local group
If your friends and family aren’t living close by, there’s no reason why you can’t find a new support network.
It’s easy to connect with people when you have a shared hobby or interest, so find community activities that you’ll enjoy attending.
Whether it’s an art class, exercise class, or book club, joining a class or a club automatically exposes you to a group of people who share at least one of your interests. Check your local library or community college as well as city parks and recreation departments to see what’s available.
Joining a class or club can also provide a sense of belonging that comes with being part of a group. This can stimulate creativity, give you something to look forward to during the day, and help stave off loneliness.
Connect with people from your past
That said, it can be easier to reconnect with old friends, rather than finding new ones.
Whether it’s your long-lost school pal or a colleague from an old job, chances are, there’ll be someone you can get in touch with to suggest meeting for a coffee and reminiscing about old times.
Take care of someone else
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and feel like part of a team. Whatever your skills and abilities, or however much time you can spare, you’ll usually be able to find something locally that can fill your downtime.
Read more: Volunteering
If you don’t fancy making a regular commitment to volunteer with a charity or community group though, there are lots of easy ways to give your time to help others – from having a cup of tea with an elderly neighbour, to holding a charity sale.
Not only will you feel that you’re doing good for others and the community, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of keeping your loneliness at bay.
Volunteering for a cause you believe in can provide the same benefits as taking a class or joining a club: meeting others, being part of a group, and creating new experiences.
Who do you turn to when you feel lonely? Have you made new friends in adulthood? Why not share your thoughts on loneliness in the comments section below?
– With PA
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