We all suffer from feeling sad and lonely at times, and right now, I think that many more of us are searching for ways to stop being lonely.
Even if we’re in happy relationships, feeling lonely can weave its way unbidden into our lives – especially as we get older and children leave home, or perhaps relatives or friends die, and even more so when we reach retirement age.
If you’ve ever felt lonely and wondered how best to change things around, then try these simple and sensible strategies that have helped me stop feeling lonely.
NB: This post is written from my own perspective, and should not be considered, or take the place of getting professional help. If you have been feeling lonely for a while then please seek professional guidance.
Tips to stop being lonely
Personally, I often sink into the depths of loneliness when I feel unworthy, and at those times I just don’t want to see anyone. It becomes self-perpetuating and debilitating.
My top tips to help you stop feeling lonely are:
- Phone a friend or relative for a chat
- Visit someone who needs a helping hand
- Invite someone around for a cup of tea or a glass of wine
- Go walking with a friend or friends – even if you don’t feel like getting out and about
- Find a local club to join and meet new people
- Look for a course to do and get out and learn something new
- Join your local library and watch out for free events and workshops
- Read your community newspaper and diarise local events to attend
- Talk to people in the supermarket queue
- Show an interest in the welfare of other people
I found some simple ideas to try out when I’m on a downward spiral in the helpful book Enjoying Retirement by Michael Longhurst, an Australian handbook of ideas, strategies and resources, published by Hachette.
Together with my own personal suggestions, I’m sharing some of Michael’s more general ideas about loneliness below, but do buy the book, especially if you’re reaching retirement age, as it’s full of helpful advice.
When you’re lonely, you’re often focussed on your own thoughts and problems.
Don’t just concentrate on how lonely you are.
Be a friend for someone else who is lonely or doing it tough. If you can focus on others, you’ll find that you don’t have so much time for your own problems.
Action: Try contacting your nearest voluntary organisation office or a nearby charity.
Ask a busy person to get something done and they’ll get it done.
Keeping busy and involved in the community, and being open to new ideas can spark good feelings and get you talking to other people.
Trying new things is really important if you want to avoid feelings of loneliness.
Action: Join a club, get involved with the community by joining an organisation. Or go and learn something new, write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about something you feel strongly about.
Exercise produces endorphins and generally induces a feel-good factor.
Even if you are feeling sad, make a date in your diary to get out and exercise with a friend.
Action: Phone a friend who might like to walk or run or bicycle with you and make a regular date to catch up.
Don’t take to your bed.
It’s all too easy to start spending too much time in bed.
I know it’s comfortable, and if you have a TV in your room there’s all the more reason for you to laze on the duvet if you’ve stopped full time work.
Lonely and depressed people are likely to spend more time asleep and this isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Action: The best avoidance is to get into a routine of getting up at a certain time each day.
Make a list of the tasks or things you’re going to do the next day.
Avoid watching too much TV, or drinking too much alcohol
Plan Plan Plan
Get your local papers and trawl through the What’s On section.
Look for advertisements and notices about events that might interest you – musical shows, art displays, markets, and events happening at the library such as author readings and workshops. How about rambling clubs or walking groups?
Action: Buy a desk diary or a pretty yearly diary, or use your mobile phone calendar or your computer-based calendar.
Decide which events you’d like to attend and then diarise free events, and pay upfront for tickets and lock them into your calendar.
Fill your days and weeks with as many interesting events as possible.
What is the cure for loneliness?
In an article in Psychology Today, the following suggestions were put forward. Here I’m sharing some of the main points, but make sure to check out the full post for more detailed information.
- Practice self kindness, limit hurtful self talk and do something nice for yourself like a walk in nature, or go for a spa treatment.
- Share your personal wins with others.
- Connect with people in real life.
- Get off your phone and off Netflix and call someone.
- Do more things with other people – go wine tasting, organise an arts and crafts evening.
- Stop focusing so much on yourself.
- Volunteer for a cause in which you’re working with others.
- Be kind to yourself. Don’t put yourself down.
- Develop a sense of wonder – about the world, about landscapes, about food.
- Spend your money on experiences not possessions.
- Create a vision board about things you’d love to do in the future.
Feeling Lonely Quotes
Writers, philosophers and artists throughout the ages have either created great works of art when lonely or succumbed to loneliness, or written about being lonely, and come up with philosophical thoughts around it.
These quotations offer insight and inspiration around loneliness.
“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.”Orson Welles
“Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper
“When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.”Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat Pray Love
“Where are the people?” resumed the little prince at last. “It’s a little lonely in the desert…” “It is lonely when you’re among people, too,” said the snake.”Antoine de Saint-Exupery – The Little Prince
What tips do you have for getting over being lonely?