Doesn’t that word sound like it is? Hollow and empty? What’s that called?… onomatopoeia! (You KNOW I totally googled it! ;0)
We recently moved to a new town, a new state and even a new time zone. I am definitely feeling alone and isolated despite the fact that I live with my husband and two children. The funny thing is that even in our former town I would see people less in the summertime because I didn’t work as much. Now that we are in a different state and I LITERALLY don’t know a single person in town, my circle is SO much smaller. I think the lack of options makes the loneliness feel even greater which in turn makes me feel sad and down.
Are you feeling or have ever felt lonely?
What makes YOU feel lonely?
I keep wondering if this loneliness is making me feel down or if I am feeling lonely because I am down? They seem intricately woven. And what exactly do you do to combat this double whammy? It would be easy for me to say “join a club! Talk to your neighbor or call a friend!”, but the truth is – if you’re anything like me, you won’t. Those things take EFFORT which if you’ve ever been depressed you know that anything that takes effort is off the list for the day. So what WILL you do? What IS the first step to manage loneliness?
The first step is to acknowledge your feelings. Don’t try to stuff them down and ignore them though that will be your first instinct. Bring them out and recognize them as they are. Acknowledge their existence within both your mind and your body. It’s not pretty and it’s probably uncomfortable, but that’s okay. Life isn’t pretty nor should it be. It’s in the mess of life where we find ourselves.
You are a human being and the feeling of loneliness is completely NORMAL. You are not a freak or a mental case and don’t even think of going down the road that you are unlikeable/unloveable. If you are feeling that- please know that it’s your loneliness or depression talking, not reality. Maybe you are lonely because you have experienced the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or a broken relationship. You may be tempted to set those feelings aside, tamp them down or ignore them completely. In doing so, you are only DELAYING your process. Be brave and LIVE in the uncomfortableness of it! Accept the loneliness as something you need to walk THROUGH as part of your journey, wherever you are.
It’s kind of a weird word, right? The meaning of administer according to Webster is to manage the operation of something. In this case, you are going to administer to the operation of your mind and body. Take control, if you will. You have gone through the process of acknowledging and accepting, it’s time to take control of it. What can you do to manage your loneliness?
Ugh. You knew it was coming, didn’t you? Get out in nature friends! If it’s a real struggle to get out there, try setting a timer to force yourself to exercise for a given amount of time. Yesterday, I set a timer to walk for 30 minutes. Frankly, I was ready to be done after 20, but I pushed through the last 10 minutes and when I was done I felt better, stronger and despite how hot it was, I had a smile on my face. So go for a walk by yourself or with a friend (furry friends too!) or hop on your bike and take in all the healing properties of nature! You won’t regret it.
Practice Gratitude and Pray
When you are lonely and depressed it’s easy to fall into the trap that NOTHING is going right. Take a moment and write down 3 things you are grateful for. Go ahead, do it right now, I’ll wait!
Practicing gratitude helps the brain re-map itself to positive thinking. It takes time to re-map that hard head so try to do it as often as you can. 🙂
PRAY for release from your feelings, for comfort, for friendship, for courage. The Lord has a plan for you in this place, in this moment on your very own journey.
Read a funny book
This is one of my favorite things to do. The feeling of a book can be carried around with you all day – so go and find something funny and think back on it when the dark cloud hovers.
Get in a Routine
Believe it or not, getting in a routine gives your body a rhythm that is soothing to the nervous system. Everyone’s rhythm is different so find something that works for YOU.
I know everyone always says eating healthy is just as important as exercise, right? Well, it’s TRUE friends! Try avoiding sugars, alcohol and simple carbs. Load up on fruits, veggies and lean meats. Your mind will be stronger if you feed it with good food!
Make a To-Do List
There is something about creating a list that gives the mind focus. I have always felt more effective and productive when I have lists and crossed things off. This productivity can help you feel like you have more control in your life and foster a positive attitude.
If the people at your work or school are not staving off your loneliness then don’t be afraid to look somewhere else. You might be surprised to find JOY in volunteer work.
Volunteering fosters feelings of being needed, helping others and feeling like you are a part of something.
Share With Others
Write a blog about being lonely (wink wink). Where are my people? Are you feeling lonely? Sometimes just reading about someone else’s feelings on the matter can lift the burden of loneliness and make it lighter for just a little while. I pray I’ve been able to do that for you today. At kathywurster.com I am here for YOU and want you to know you are NOT alone. Deep down I know this to be true, despite what you may feel in this moment.
Blessings on your day.
Send me a note in the comments or on facebook and tell me how you are managing your loneliness today.