Along with the pandemic surrounding coronavirus, there is likely another pandemic forming quietly behind it: the pandemic of loneliness. For most of us, our lives have changed in so many ways in recent months, and along with “flattening the curve,” we fear at Soul Blossom that some of us may be flattening the soul. For those who were fighting anxiety, feelings of loneliness, and uncertainty before all this, these feelings may be extraordinarily acute at this point.
First and foremost, we MUST recognize that we are not the only ones who are feeling this way. Many of us get lonely or anxious from time to time, but loneliness doesn’t have to be permanent. Here is some advice to help you to combat loneliness in any situation.
FIND YOUR SOUL
Your soul is the passion that you hold dear to you, and loneliness is really just a feeling. At times, that feeling can be quite overwhelming—so overwhelming that it can obscure your soul and the passions within you. However, there are ways to make less room for loneliness and create more “food” to feed your soul.
While personal social interaction with family, friends, and even co-workers can be a fulfilling part of our lives, our happiness doesn’t have to be entirely dependent on others. When you find your soul, feed it by immersing yourself in activities that fulfill you; this leaves less room inside for loneliness.
REACH OUT TO THOSE WHO HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THERE
It’s no secret—true friends and family will stick by you through thick and thin. Their love helps ease any loneliness you may be feeling. If you get lonely, reach out to your support system, even if you may not feel like they exist. They do.
In the old world, we may have been relying a bit too much on text messaging. While this is highly convenient it can be extraordinarily impersonal. Now, more than ever, it’s time to go old school and give your parents or children a call or join the digital age and video conference with others. Hear their voices and see their faces.
Reignite old friendships that time has blurred. This type of personal connection offers far more emotional fulfillment and support than a mere text.
SPEAK TO A THERAPIST
Sometimes we just need to just get stuff off our chests. In some cases, we don’t feel comfortable talking to our loved ones about the reasons for our loneliness. They might even be part of the issue. If this is the case, an alternative option could be to speak to a therapist.
Loneliness can be a gateway to the development of serious mental health issues. It’s normal to feel lonely, but prolonged emotional distress can lead to long-term problems. With therapy, you can talk to a professional with an unbiased opinion about your situation.
For many of us, going to a therapist is difficult. You might find comfort in setting up a virtual chat with a mental health professional instead of going to an office. There are many video therapy services available now if you just look around.
LOOK INTO VOLUNTEERING
This seems like it may be more difficult in the wake of our new normal. But there are still a number of low contact volunteer opportunities for those looking to make a difference.
One excellent way to ease the pain of loneliness is by extending a helping hand to others. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. You’re doing good for someone in need. Knowing that you’re making a difference gives you a sense of purpose and can make you feel less alone. It also will connect you with other people from all walks of life. In many ways, it helps you to get to know people you might never have met otherwise. Volunteering is a humbling and enriching experience and a great way to combat loneliness.
KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL
Loneliness is sometimes the result of dwelling on the things you’re missing out on. You may feel lonely because you’re not able to hang out with your friends, a loved one, or your family like you used to be able to do. It’s easy to only think about the things that are lacking in your life, but these are just slivers in the pie chart that is your life.
There are many ways to become grateful for things in your life. Perhaps you feel alone, but maybe you’re lucky enough to have your health, a roof over your head, and food on the table. Yes, being away from your family and friends is hard, but think of how grateful you are to have people in your life who you care so much about. The practice of actively focusing on gratitude offers a greater sense of well-being that you can carry with you throughout your day.
The best way to count your blessings is with a gratitude journal. Keep it next to your bed. When you wake up, write down one thing you’re grateful for every day. With more gratitude in your heart, there’s less space for loneliness.
WORK ON POSITIVE SELF-TALK
You know loneliness is prevailing when negative thoughts start creeping in. If you are someone prone to anxiety, you can easily get into a negative spiral when you feel isolated. While these feelings can be overwhelming, you may be able to redirect your thoughts with positive self talk.
Become aware of your negative reactions. If you make a simple mistake, don’t call yourself stupid. Try to laugh it off instead. When you get nervous before a presentation, stop thinking, “I can’t do this.” Tell yourself you’re going to slay it. Changing the conversation that you’re having with yourself can do wonders in changing your perspective.