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You’ve just moved out of state to start college or a new job. You’re far away from friends, and a week in you’re just sitting in your apartment having dinner and scrolling through your social media when it hits you – you’re feeling lonely. Dealing with loneliness is something we’ve all experienced at one point or another in our lives.

11 Tips for Dealing with Loneliness from a Christian PerspectiveFor some, loneliness is a seasonal reality that comes at certain times of the year or coincides with particular events. The holidays can often be a time of loneliness especially when the people you celebrated with have moved or passed away.

Other calendar events like Valentine’s Day with an increased focus on couples and relationships can be lonely if you’re not in a relationship or if your relationship is going through a rough patch. Your friends may be in different phases of their lives, and that too can bring about some disconnection and feelings of loneliness.

11 Tips for Dealing with Loneliness

Though the feeling of loneliness ebbs and flows, thankfully, there are some things you can do to alleviate it. Below are eleven tips to get you going.

Make a list of things you can do by yourself. Often, doing things with other people is more fun than doing it alone. Going out with friends for movies, dinner, or to watch a game is standard for most people, so much so that you might feel a little weird doing certain things by yourself.

However, you can make a list of solitary activities so that if you’re feeling lonely you can stay occupied. One benefit of this is that we’re used to regulating ourselves because of the company we’re in, and we don’t know how to simply be by ourselves. Doing things by yourself provides you with the opportunity to know yourself better.

Find people with similar interests. If you’re in a city or town where you don’t know a lot of people, loneliness can set in. To deal with this, one tip is to find other people with whom you share similar interests. By joining a club or class that explores things you’re interested in, you’re not only giving yourself something to do, but you’re also surrounding yourself with people with whom you have at least one thing in common.

11 Tips for Dealing with Loneliness from a Christian Perspective 1That also makes it easier to forge connections with them. Identify someone in your surroundings that you go to school with, or work with that you’d like to develop a friendship with and strike up a conversation, or invite them out for a cup of coffee.

Give back by volunteering your time. Loneliness can draw you increasingly into yourself, and that inward focus isn’t always healthy, especially when coupled with mental health challenges such as depression. To get out of the spiral of unhealthy inward focus, looking outside yourself and focusing on others through volunteering can help you and your overall sense of wellbeing.

Not only will you be spending time with people, but in doing so while serving others you allow yourself to alleviate your loneliness in a wholesome way. If you aren’t able to volunteer your time, challenge yourself to do a random act of kindness for someone every week.

Look for support online. You can be sure that you aren’t the only person who is feeling lonely at this exact moment. Across the country and the globe, others are also going through similar things as you. Finding support in online groups is one way to connect with other people who understand where you’re at.

Of course, you need to be careful when navigating online groups, being wary of sharing personal information that can identify you, your address, or other sensitive information such as your financial and social security information. Unfortunately, while there are many genuine people seeking connection and support, there are some unscrupulous people who take advantage of the emotional vulnerabilities of others.

Strengthen your existing relationships. We might feel lonely because of feeling disconnected from others, and one way to deal with this is to reach out to people with whom we have existing relationships. Reconnecting with the people you already know might be a less daunting prospect than engaging strangers or joining a club.

Additionally, you can also just visit with people you’re comfortable with if you don’t want to talk. Sometimes, when you’re lonely all you need is a hug, and if you have a friend or relative who can give you that emotional support, that’s a win.

11 Tips for Dealing with Loneliness from a Christian Perspective 2Consider taking a break from social media. Social media presumably makes us feel more connected to the people in our lives. Through their tweets and posts, we’re meant to get a peek into their lives. Social media can keep you updated on what’s happening in people’s lives, but it’s also true that it can make you feel lonely or experience FOMO when you see the things that are happening in other people’s lives that may not be happening in yours.

In that way, instead of connecting you to your friends, it can make you feel disconnected from people. Taking a break from social media can help you tamp down the feeling of loneliness.

Adopt a pet. We can have a connection with people, but humans also form strong bonds with animals too. By adopting a pet, you provide yourself with an emotional connection that isn’t as complex or as demanding as with human beings, while being fulfilling, nonetheless. Taking this step can help lift your loneliness but take a bit of time to think through what kind of pet you can manage and if you can take it on for the long term.

An additional benefit of adopting a pet is that doing the daily stuff of taking care of your pet can help you meet people and get some exercise and sun (depending on the pet, of course). Dog owners, for instance, find that walks in the local park help create an instant connection with other dog owners, and having to walk your dog gives you an opportunity to leave your house and take in some sights.

Talk to strangers. This one can be tricky for some people but being social even if you don’t feel like it can help lift your mood when social interaction seems pointless. If you find yourself feeling lonely and you’re grabbing a coffee, or you’re in line at the grocery store, it doesn’t hurt to try and start a conversation with the person next to you. The conversation doesn’t have to go anywhere – what’s important is making a simple connection with another human being.

Practice self-care. When you’re feeling lonely, it can provide subtle or strong temptations to stop taking care of yourself or to engage in unhealthy habits such as eating your feelings, otherwise known as emotional eating. Instead of making you feel better, not taking care of yourself tends to make you feel worse physically and emotionally.

11 Tips for Dealing with Loneliness from a Christian Perspective 3So, when you’re feeling lonely, make sure to practice some self-care by eating well, getting some sleep, and getting your body moving in ways you enjoy. Good sleep and exercise increase your overall sense of well-being.

You can also try some self-soothing activities that will help you feel better, such as taking a hot bath or getting a massage. Often reconnecting with things you have done in the past to help you feel good can help.

Stay busy. Sometimes, you can keep loneliness at bay by simply staying busy. Take time to invest in yourself by developing a skill or digging deeper into a hobby or distract yourself by getting some work done.

Often, identifying projects at home you have been putting off can be helpful to keep you organized, productive, and feeling accomplished. Helping to distract yourself by engaging in something interesting and productive can help you make the most of the time instead of letting it lie fallow.

Consider therapy. Sometimes when you’re experiencing loneliness, it brings up or is connected to several other things in your life, such as grief and loss. Staying busy or trying to distract yourself can only go so far in dealing with what may be going on, especially if the feelings of loneliness are prolonged.

Therapy with a trained professional who understands these dynamics is an option you should strongly consider to help you process your feelings and address other things going on such as depression or social anxiety.

Conclusion

You may be feeling isolated, but loneliness is temporary. What you feel now doesn’t have to be your reality forever, and you can begin to address your feelings of loneliness by connecting with other people, taking a break from social media, taking care of yourself, or getting organized.

Another important piece to help address your overall emotional and mental health is to consider therapy to address any underlying causes of loneliness and provide you with additional tools to deal with loneliness.

Photos:
“The Key”, Courtesy of pixel2013, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Heart”, Courtesy of congerdesign, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Lonely Tree”, Courtesy of jplenio, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Knickknacks”, Courtesy of Jason Leung, Unsplash.com, CC0 License

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