10 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Lonely.

Via on Jan 29, 2013

Mirror cat

Sometimes the world feels lonely.

I remember this feeling striking me as particularly unusual and heavy when my husband and I lived outside of Philadelphia. I was far from my family—yet not as far away as when I had lived in New Mexico—but the crowded city streets seemed to highlight my loneliness rather than alleviate it.

Recently my husband and I relocated again, and it’s brought back this sense of not belonging. I think anytime a new and unfamiliar area has to be called “home,” it heightens this sense of having too few people to turn to.

Really, in the end, though, only I am responsible for my happiness—and for my feelings of loneliness.

It’s not right, for example, that my poor husband gets an unfair share of these feelings when they arise—and I have to be conscious not to depend on him too much. (After all, he is only one person and I am supposed to be a big girl.) So what should we do when we feel alone and there’s no easy or obvious solution? Try these ten things.

1. Take a bath. You’ve got to trust me on this one: taking a bath is a great way to enjoy your alone time rather than wallow in it. Being alone can be luxurious and wonderful (take it from a mom who almost always has to bathe with her toddler these days). Take the time to treat yourself to a nice, long bubble bath (and if you do it my way, make sure there’s a plate with dark chocolate and a glass of wine beside your tub).

2. Take a walk. Being out in nature is extremely cleansing and uplifting—and it can be a great way to enjoy your solitude. One of my favorite meditations is a walking meditation; where you focus on the sensations of your feet lifting up from and stepping onto the ground. It’s very earthy and calming—and a healthy usage of alone time.

3. Go to a movie. Yes, I’m one of those weirdos that likes seeing movies alone (not that I don’t enjoy company). When I lived in New Mexico, my work schedule was often the exact opposite of my husband’s, so I’d pop into that teeny, tiny theater off the plaza and watch a film alone. I also frequented movies by myself when we lived in PA and I traveled with my husband for his job. Give it a shot, or if it’s not your style at all, watch a movie on Netflix.

4. Go to a yoga class. If you tend to be a home practitioner, but find yourself feeling lonely as of late, then head to your local studio. You can zone out and get all the benefits of your yoga practice, but having people on mats next to you can be a comfort when you’re feeling overly isolated.

5. Read. Reading a great novel is something we generally tend to prefer doing alone anyways. For me, getting lost in a book is one of my favorite passions—and a great thing to do when you’re feeling lonely.

6. Get coffee. It might seem silly, but one of my favorite places to head during some of our more isolated locals was my small-town coffee shop.

7. Go to the library. Libraries, especially these days, are underrated. You just might discover your new favorite book while perusing the shelves, and there’s almost always a soft, cozy chair to sit in for a little while.

8. Branch out. Do you feel lonely a lot? Think about why. If it’s because you’re not making friends easily then look for different places where you can meet people with similar values—say, the yoga studio for example.

9. Get a haircut. This suggestion might be unexpected, but I have a history of doing things to my hair when I feel lonely or in a rut. It’s just hair, it grows back, and you should be having fun with it anyway. For me, a haircut is such a cathartic experience—and it’s almost always invigorating and renewing if you’re feeling down.

10. Become your own best friend. If you’re not already, you should definitely consider becoming your own best friend. For one, life is a lot more fun when you enjoy your own company. Secondly, we tend to meet healthy friends and partners when we like ourselves first; and lastly, it alleviates a lot of feelings of loneliness if you like being with yourself.

I’ve always needed alone time, but my first big, adult move out west with my husband was surprisingly enlightening.

I learned a lot of things about myself by being forced to spend more time alone than I would have previously chosen to do. These tips and suggestions are things that have really helped me throughout the years when I felt isolated and alone—and I hope they help you if you’re in a similar place in your own life right now.

Remember, though, that life should be a social, fun experience, so if you’re feeling lonely a lot, don’t ignore it. Talk to someone you trust.

Having said that, I love The Verve song On Your Own that says “you come in on your own and you leave on your own.” It’s a reminder that we’re supposed to experience moments of solitude; we are solitary—and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

~

Relephant:

The Introvert’s Guide to a Vibrant Life.

~

Like elephant health & wellness on Facebook.

Ed: Kate Bartolotta

About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She's also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people that ever lived and she's also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor's degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer then make sure to check out her writing, as she's finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer's first book, The Best Day of Your Life, is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and on her website.

119,658 views

Appreciate this article? Support indie media!

(We use super-secure PayPal - but don't worry - you don't need an account with PayPal.)

28 Responses to “10 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Lonely.”

  1. Audra says:

    Love this article!! I rarely feel lonely, but still feel the ideas here are good for a persons general sense of well being. As she said, learning to be comfortable with yourself is always time well spent.

    • Jennifer S. White Jennifer White says:

      Thanks, Audra! I really appreciate your comments and thoughts. Isn't it funny that some of the best ways to spend time are alone? I think it's all about appreciating that, even when it's forced upon us by circumstance.

  2. kleurplaten says:

    If i'm lonely, i won't start an go take a walk… because i will feel even more lonelier ….. i think the solution to feeling lonely is just go and talk in the only community , games etc….

  3. [...] don’t deny missing home. I miss my family and I miss my friends. I miss the familiarity of friendly faces and the warmth of hugs and joyful smiles. But I’m doing [...]

  4. Jennifer, this was marvellous and the timing couldn't have been better for you to publish this article—at least with regards to my own life. I moved out of my childhood home—and hometown—last year, but I lived with two room-mates. Even though we rarely hung out and had interactions only when doing the laundry or making meals, I never realized how essential those interactions were in preventing loneliness that I had never experienced until now.

    I just moved out on my own, and, for several weeks, I was feeling caught in spirals of negative thinking, in complete loss of confidence, in self-doubt, and profound sadness. Anytime I was around people, though, or doing any of the items you list here, I immediately felt better and could not remember what it felt like to be lonely. And the cycle would repeat itself.

    I've found ways to incorporate social interactions into my day at least once, and I've done every one of the items you list above, save for the movie night (it's on my list! I'm a weirdo, too :)) and the bath (I don't have a bath tub. Haha). Thank you for this. You are wonderful and I hope that you evade loneliness always, all while enjoying and relishing your alone time when you have it. Blessings to you and yours.

    • Jennifer S. White Jennifer White says:

      Thank you! Oh, I could write another list just for you. I lived on my own for a short period before I moved out west with my now-husband, and I learned a lot about myself in this regard then. (And I didn't have a bath tub in that apartment either!) Hmmm, one of my favorite things to do was to make tea and get special cookies and sit at my kitchen table by the window and really concentrate on the feel of the tea as I drank it (the special cookies just made me feel regal or something, I don't know ;) I did also on occasion invite a good friend over for an old-fashioned sleep-over, and that was always a blast.

      I'm proud of you for realizing so early on in the game how this lack of interaction is affecting your attitude when you do interact with others. You're ahead! Good luck, hang in there, and feel empowered by your independence as often as you can!
      Blessings right back to you.

  5. umang dave says:

    This is really a helpful article.
    You can help people to connect with each other who feel lonely .
    umang.201078@gmail.com

  6. [...] day on which we proclaim our love seems to set up expectations that are all too often dashed with despair and loneliness or the feeling of somehow falling miserably [...]

  7. [...] is no loneliness. We sleep, wake and live in stride; from closeness we clash and at times we [...]

  8. Carli Susu says:

    Yes, thank you….I do all those things, especially going for a walk in nature to feel connected. A boyfriend years ago once told me (as he was leaving me), 'How can you ever feel alone when the whole planet is simply crawling with life!'. Every square foot has countless of living organisims.
    However, you sort of lost me within the first few phrases by using the term 'my husband'. If you have a partner, you are already one up; you have a soulmate, someone you can turn to, who (hopefully) is on your side, a sense of family. Yes, I know, partners are not always on-tap, and one needs other friends, other relationships, and sometimes a husband, like all relationships, can be hard work, but even when you are apart, you can just close your eyes and know that he is out there.
    I lost my partner 8 years ago to cancer at a very young age. I truly know how loneliness feels. It sears and burns and aches, and I long to say, 'I am alone except for my partner'. I am able to distract myself using most of the things that you list above, smile a lot, have had a go at other relationships and am still open to this possibility, know some wonderful people, but at the end of the day, I go to bed alone, I wake up alone and I miss that sense of family of intimate connection.
    Sometimes I am merely alone and sometimes I am lonely; there is a difference.
    LOVE & LIGHT xXx

  9. Rosana T. says:

    Great ideas! But don't forget to volunteer your time….helping others is the best way to feel better!

  10. James Rettig says:

    Great article — recently republished in Elephant Journal. My wife and I recently moved to a new city. We have discovered Meetup – - a social media org. that acts to allow " organizers" to set up mutual interest groups that welcome folks to do things together. For examples, we have gone to mediation , small dog, and zoo outing Meetups so far in our new city of Grand Rapids , MI. I have found that the number of groups is in ratio to the size of the population base. You may wish to check it out for your own use and/or a subject of a essay/blog. If you do write about it , please let me know, so that I will not miss it.

  11. Verona Tang says:

    We have to admit that we came to this earth alone and we will leave this earth alone too. All we are having is now and is an experience by playing this game of life. Just be simple and easy on yourself, enjoy the time with or without companies. :)

    • Radical Rose says:

      I really love your comment. I'm gonna print it out and hang it in my room…very inspiring! You deserve to have your quote put in some famous quote website or something. This really cheered me up. :) BTW: Jennifer White I read and love all your articles! Elephant Journal is always a privilege to read everyday. :)

  12. raghavi says:

    i love you

  13. stephanie says:

    I didn’t come into the world alone my mom was there… and she didn’t go out of it alone I was there !!

  14. stephanie says:

    P.s. we are never alone God is always there …omnipresent…

  15. John P says:

    Sorry guess I don't see how these help… After taking a bath, watching a movie, or getting a haircut, wont you still be lonely after about 1-3 hours those take?
    I do agree with Stepanie though that God is always with us the.

  16. Melissa says:

    What if you've exhausted all of the above and still feel a tinge of loneliness?

  17. Nice article well written ‘karmicly’ the best way to not feel lonely is help someone else to not be lonely. Visit a nursing home, volunteer at a soup kitchen, talk to the homeless. Join a non profit organization. The I inverse will diminish your loneliness.

  18. amber says:

    ive been advised to never get a haircut when you are feeling sad lol

  19. Rami says:

    Best remedies for loneliness: (1) Be the company for another (2) Volunteer on behalf of complete strangers.

  20. Moana says:

    I AGREE with all of the above and Go for a Dip in the Sea, Pray, Find your Passion, And Be Grateful.. Thank you for a Great Article:)))

  21. OT says:

    Nice list, but I beg to differ. All these are escape mechanisms on how not to just be by yourself. Of course, healthier alternatives than drinking or spend time stuck watching TV. But as someone has also posted above, you came to this world alone and you will leave it alone, so make peace with your being alone rather than escaping it by doing something. So what’s the best way to address it? Meditate! Sit down, or lay on your back and just watch. Sooner or later, the ugly loneliness will turn to beautiful aloneness. ( disclaimer:I admit I do some of the stuff you mentioned above and even unhealthy ones, like spending hours on the net, when I feel lonely. What I wrote above what I believe is the best way to deal with it;-)

  22. fifi says:

    Thanks, i feel so lonely right now, i feel no one understand me, and no one supported me, not even my mother..

  23. Lindsay says:

    Thanks a lot for your suggestions. It's nice to see that someone differentiates being alone with being lonely. The two are absolutely NOT the same thing. You can easily feel lonely in a room full of people…even if you're volunteering your time. Loneliness is a state of mind, a state that you and only you can control. Being in touch with yourself is the only way to alleviate these feelings. However, if you feel alone, by all means, just go out and spend time with other community members or whatnot. Again, thank you Jennifer for the article.

  24. Pete Fros says:

    I find excerise to be great at combating loneliness. I found myself alone and feeling alone when I separated for my wife of 17 years. The gym was a great escape.

Leave a Reply