Loneliness During Covid-19
The times we are living are unprecedented. Loneliness is something that each of us has to contend with from time to time, but during the lock-down it seems like many struggle with it, and for good reasons! We are social beings, and now we are pulled apart from the society. When loneliness lasts too long, becoming chronic, then something really does need to be done about it. In this article, we will discusses what we can do in order to cope with loneliness. Each of us has experienced loneliness at some point in our lives. To some extent, it's part of being human.
Loneliness can be keenly felt when a person is separated from a loved one by distance, divorce, or death. For other people, it comes to the surface when feeling distant emotionally from a spouse or partner. Loneliness can also be caused by feelings of isolation, lack of connectedness to others, general social awkwardness, job loss, or rejection in relationships.
Occasional loneliness can be healthy, allowing us to travel within, reflect on our current state in life, resolve feelings or issues, and simply spend time getting to know our-self. When loneliness becomes prolonged, however, it can lead to feelings of chronic sadness, loss of hope and even suicidal thoughts.
How can we learn to cope with loneliness, regardless of its underlying cause? Here are 6 things you can do:
1. Differentiate Between Solitude and Loneliness
There is a difference between being alone and being lonely, of course. Many people currently married, or in a committed relationship, report feeling 'lonely', even when sitting next to their loved one on the sofa.
Relationships don't always equate to lack of loneliness. And being alone doesn't have to mean that we're lonely. In fact, many of the most emotionally aware and happy individuals spend a great deal of time alone reading, reflecting on their lives, exercising and meditating.
We need to determine whether we are simply alone, or are feeling lonely. We can proactively work to resolve our difficult feelings, once we have identified their cause. If we are experiencing real difficulty, then it might be wise to work with an experienced counselor or therapist.
2. Focus on Happiness
Your level of happiness rests in your hands. If you feel unhappy, take proactive action to correct this state of being. Focus on participating in enjoyable activities. Spend time with your friends and family.
Expand your circle of friends by joining and participating in new social groups. Take a night class. Join a local church, faith community, or community center. Spend extra time participating in the hobbies or activities you really like. Listen to your favorite music; familiar sounds can immediately impact our mood and emotional state.
Focus on those things that make you happy, not on the things, people and places that don't. Always remember that it is you who really controls your level of personal happiness.
3. Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
Are you thankful for the things you have and the people in your life? Stop and take a moment each day to focus on gratitude. What are you thankful for today? Jot down at least one thing each day in a notebook or journal. By focusing on what you are grateful for, you will focus less on the things in your life that you are least happy about.
4. Seek Like-Minded Others
Join a gym or exercise class. Exercise not only increases our physical health, but our mental and emotional health, too. During physical activity, endorphins are released, which have been proven to enhance mood and our overall mental and emotional state.
Seek out and join groups of people who are like-minded. In practically every city or large town, there are organized groups and people who regularly meet to share hobbies, activities and interestes. No matter your interest, whether it be reading or writing, arts and crafts, collecting or sports, you can connect with others in your geographic area who share these same interests.
If you live in a more rural location, go online and join a discussion group of people with similar interests to you. You can also connect with like-minded individuals by joining a faith community and participating in your local church, synagogue, mosque, temple, religious or humanist organization.
5. Serve Others
This is one of the very best ways to banish loneliness. Give of yourself by volunteering with organizations and causes that matter to you. Helping and supporting others leads to feelings of usefulness and connectedness. You might even find yourself developing lifelong relationships through your participation in your chosen group, organization or cause.
6. Pets or Plants
Pets and plants bring real enjoyment into the lives of their owners. If the outdoors appeals to you and you enjoy getting your hands dirty, then cultivate a vegetable or fruit garden, or take care of difficult plants (i.e. orchids).
Focus on learning about and nurturing something other than yourself, and enjoy the fruits of your labor by watching them grow and thrive. Connect with others who share these interests.
If you feel equipped to take care of an animal, consider adding fish, a cat, or even a dog into your home. Pets can bring a great sense of satisfaction into a person's life, providing a wonderful companionship, too.
Regardless of whether your feelings of loneliness are completely new or have lasted for a long time, you have the ability to do something about them. With just a little courage and focus, you can take back control of your life and greatly reduce your feelings of loneliness.