You might be by yourself, but you don’t have to be alone or lonely
The holiday season can bring with it a number of unexpected challenges. One of the big ones is loneliness.
When everyone around you is making plans to spend time with family and friends, it can be tough if you find that you don’t have people to spend time with during the festive period.
Mental charity Mind provides the following hints and tips on how to cope with feeling alone or lonely, and how to work through any bouts of loneliness.
Think about what’s making you lonely
It’s important to distinguish being by yourself to feeling alone or lonely. Some people are really happy with their own company, and enjoy a bit of space from the rest of the world, while for others that might leave them feeling isolated and vulnerable. Try and articulate your emotions and try to pinpoint what might be triggering them Are you feeling lonely because you don’t see or talk to other people enough? Or are you feeling lonely because you feel that the people around you don’t understand you?
Make new connections
Whatever might be triggering your feelings of loneliness, one of the best ways to tackle it is to take some action. Find ways to interact with people, or find ways to connect with people who might understand you a bit better. This could be joining a community group, taking a class, volunteering with a charity, or joining a sports club. If you’re not feeling confident about meeting people face-to-face, there’s lots of online options.
Means Happy is part of the Gaydar family, and one of the most popular features on Gaydar is our chatrooms. There’s a huge range of different chatrooms, covering all sorts of subjects and locations. A lot of these are about dating and hooking-up, but quite often it’s just a way to connect with other people and have a conversation.
One of the weird things about loneliness is that even if you’re surrounded by people, you might still feel lonely. The holiday season could be a time when you are with your family, but if you feel that your family don’t really know you, or don’t really understand what you’re going through or experiencing, then this can feel very isolating.
The best remedy is to try and find a way to express your feelings. If you can’t connect with anyone in your family, reach out to friends, or online contacts. If that’s not possible, try writing about your emotions, or finding another creative outlet so that you’re not bottling everything up inside.
Take it slow
Don’t expect instant miraculous change. If you’re feeling lonely, it can take a while to work through that – it can take a while for you to build connections with others. Make small steps. Set yourself small goals to accomplish each day. If you join a chatroom and don’t immediately find someone to talk to, don’t be discouraged – try a different one tomorrow. Keep trying new things until you find what works for you.
Be careful when comparing yourself to others
Social media platforms such as Instagram can be a great way to keep in touch with your friends and to follow other people’s aspirational adventures. It’s important that you’re not comparing yourself to anyone else – especially people on the internet who you’ve never met. The thing about social media is that most people are presenting the absolute best version of themselves, or the person that they’d like to be. It’s not necessarily what they’re really doing, they don’t always look so glamorous, they don’t always feel so great. Everyone has their highs and lows.
Check how you are feeling
When you’re feeling lonely, or at an emotional low, things can quickly spiral out of perspective. Try and check-in with yourself. Make notes to try and understand what might be influencing or triggering how you’re feeling. Did you sleep well? Have you eaten? Have you had some exercise? Have you reached out to speak with someone? Give yourself a checklist of things to do to keep your day on track.
Get some help
Don’t let your isolation become a barrier that prevents you from asking for help. If you’re feeling vulnerable, or if you just need some advice or guidance, there’s lots of organisations and helplines out there who you can access by telephone or online. Just talking to a friend or someone you know can be a big help in staying focused on moving forward and staying connected with the world around you.
Read others’ stories
It can be really helpful to realise that you’re not the only person who struggles with feeling alone or lonely. There’s lots of blogs and books and podcasts from people talking about their personal experiences, their highs and lows, and how they’ve tried to manage their struggles. Hearing how other people have tackled things can help to give you confidence that you’re on the right track.