Almost everyone struggles with loneliness at some point in their lives. Just know that if you are experiencing loneliness, you are not alone. Below are a few strategies that may help you cope with loneliness:
There are many opportunities to volunteer! A simple online search will divulge opportunities that are close to you and that align with your values and passions. Volunteering allows you to make a difference while also meeting new people. Additionally, it can be a topic of conversation, which may be helpful for those who are timid in approaching people and creating conversation.
Join a Class or Club
There are clubs, classes, and meetup groups for almost everything - from knitting to sports to books! Similar to volunteering, you can do a quick search online to see what is available and close to you. If you have a goal of learning something new or want to enhance a skill, this is a great way to both reach your goal while meeting new people that share a common interest with you. You can also make plans to meet outside of the session to practice the skill together or do any homework that is assigned!
Feel your emotions
Allow yourself to feel any emotions and feelings you may have, whether they are pleasant or unpleasant. Try to acknowledge them by chatting with someone who may be in a similar position or experience as you or by self-reflecting to let these emotions out instead of suppressing them.
Be a friend to yourself
Imagine your friend is currently feeling lonely and you know your friend loves watching action movies and eating their favourite cuisine. To help them feel better, you may take them out to enjoy all those activities. Likewise, take yourself out and treat yourself like you are the best friend you ever had. You know yourself the best. You know what you like, enjoy, and what makes you feel the most joy, so take some time to intentionally create pleasant experiences.
Remind Yourself That You Are Not Alone
Often, people feel lonely from seeing others having social connections and company that they feel they lack. We often forget that many others feel lonely too and that it is completely normal to feel this way from time to time.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can use your senses to redirect your thoughts to the present moment by focusing on what you can see, touch, hear, smell, and/or taste. For example, if I was eating at a Ramen shop alone and I saw a large group of friends making my thoughts race about being alone, I would shift my attention to the smell of the heavenly pork broth and the sound of the bells ringing each time a customer opens the doors.
Embrace with Nature
Unplug from the digital world! With the warmer months coming up, enjoy a tasteful picnic at a park to observe trees, listen to birds chirp, and/or feel the sun shining on you.
Feelings of loneliness may be worsened due to social media. It is easy to compare your situation to others you see on social media that are posting pictures with their loved ones. Try taking some time off social media and engage in journaling. If you cannot see your loved ones, make a list of them to remind yourself that there are people in your life you care about even if you cannot be with them.
Another journaling activity is to make a list of things you hope to accomplish in the short-term or long-term and write down a plan as to how you will achieve them. Doing so can bring about excitement for the future and give you something positive to look forward to.
Beyond the Blog
Check out the SFU Health and Counselling page for additional help and resources.