What To Do When You Are Feeling Lonely
We all know of February as the month of love but with that comes increased feelings of loneliness for those of us who may be without the relationship status we desire. This year the month also comes as many of us are being forced back into isolation again with Covid cases on the rise.
We may be again fearful of venturing out into group settings, and the cold, dark and dreary weather of the winter likely isn’t helping our moods much. This is, after all, a common time of the year for the winter blues and seasonal depression. Counseling and therapy can be a good tool for supporting your mental health during these uncertain and challenging times. If you are struggling with feelings of loneliness there are some other things you can do, too.
Here are some things you can do when you are feeling lonely:
1.) Name Your Feelings — It is ok to feel whatever you are feeling. If you are lonely, acknowledge those feelings. You can’t address your feelings if you don’t first recognize that they are there. Feelings of loneliness are a sign that you need to do something. It is a great time to ask for help or to make some connections (see tips below). Naming what you are feeling is the first step to making things better.
2.) Look For Connection — Connection can mean a lot of things. If you are lonely, it’s a good sign that it is time to reach out to a friend. You can make a call to someone you haven’t talked to in a while, send a text checking in on a loved one, reach out on social media, or even make connections virtually on message boards. Having real and meaningful conversations with others is a great way to feel less alone. Make an effort to strike up a conversation next time you are out in public. A study conducted a few years ago reported that casual interactions with strangers improved people’s moods for the rest of the day. Who knows, you might learn something new.
3.) Do a Brain Dump — Feeling lonely can sometimes be an indication that you are not feeling connected to yourself. Maybe you feel like you aren’t being true to yourself or meeting your needs. Take a few minutes to dump all your thoughts and feelings into a journal, or a word document on your desktop, and determine what you can do for yourself. Sometimes the simple act of letting all those built-up emotions out can make a huge difference in your overall well-being.
4.) Get Some Fresh Air — Fresh air is so good for our mood, our health, and our soul. Even if it’s cold and even if it’s just for a few minutes, consider taking a short walk. Bundle up and breathe in the fresh air, take in the sights around you, reconnect with your dog if you have one, or take a few minutes to listen to the wind or the birds. Getting outside can help to increase feelings of calm and clarity.
5.) Try a Thought Exercise — Even though you may feel alone, you aren’t. Many other people in your community and the world are feeling the same way as you. But, when you are lonely it can be hard to see past your personal experience. Try sitting down with your eyes closed and focusing on what you think other people are feeling or doing right now. You may feel less alone in knowing that many others are also isolated in their homes.
6.) Challenge Energy into Something New — The energy spent feeling sad or lonely can be channeled into learning something new or achieving a new goal. For example, you could try a new workout program or pick up a hobby. You could check out a new book or recipe. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself and leaning into your lonely feelings, channel that energy into something more positive.
7.) Pay Attention to Self-Talk — Often when we are feeling down on ourselves we aren’t very nice in the way we speak to ourselves. Our brains tend to shift towards the negative. We focus on the negative things about ourselves or our lives which only adds to feelings of loneliness. Focus on trying to be more positive in the way you talk to yourself. A little positivity can go a long way to boosting mood and improving your overall feelings.
8.) Remember These Feelings are Temporary — It is easy to think that your feelings of loneliness will last forever. It doesn’t feel good to feel lonely. It’s unpleasant but it is temporary. Acknowledging that they won’t last forever will help to decrease the negative feelings.
At CW Psychological Services in Pennsylvania we often see clients who struggle with negative feelings of loneliness, sadness, or depression. If you frequently struggle with feeling alone or are looking for someone to talk to who can understand where you are coming from, consider seeking the help of a counselor or therapist. They can give you the tools to improve your mental health.
Ready to begin counseling in Pennsylvania?
Counselors at CW Psychological Services are professionally trained and licensed. We have openings for online, or telehealth, therapy appointments. Email us at [email protected] or call at (610) 308-7575. We are here for you.