7 tips to go from loneliness to happiness
Everyone feels lonely sometimes, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more difficult than usual to maintain our usual social contacts. Whether you’re confined to your home in lockdown, furloughed from your employment or working from home rather than going into the office, you may be missing the regular contact you previously enjoyed with family, friends and colleagues.
It’s natural to feel isolated and lonely at the moment, and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. The thing is to remember that nothing lasts forever and that things will get better. In the meantime, here are some tips to help you cope with confinement. Some ideas will seem more relevant than others; everyone’s different, so find what works best for you.
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1. Try new ways of spending time together
When you can’t meet up with family and friends as you usually do, try getting together outside. Spending time in nature lifts the spirits and taking a walk in the park or the countryside is a great way to catch up.
If bad weather rules out meeting outside, there are still plenty of ways to spend time together. Play games such as chess or Scrabble online or enjoy a glass of wine and dinner while chatting with friends. There are numerous social events online you can take part in and virtual clubs and societies to join. Or why not invite the family to a regular quiz night - fun for all ages.
2. Keep in touch
Be more sociable and make contact with others more often. When you’ve established a routine of checking in regularly, it makes it easier to reach out to people when you’re feeling lonely and need someone to talk to.
Use social media, texts or What’s App to message someone with whom you’ve lost contact. If you prefer to chat with a group rather than an individual set up a group chat on What’s App or Zoom.
3. Share your feelings but be wary of comparing yourself with others
When you’re feeling lonely, it can help to tell others how you’re feeling, so be honest and share your emotions. It’s easier to do this if you’ve established a routine of chatting and relaxing with someone you can trust.
When using social media, remember that many people only post about positive aspects of their lives. It might seem as if you’re the only person feeling alone, but this is certainly not the case. You can never be sure what troubles other people might be experiencing. Try to avoid comparing your life to others, and if you find this difficult, it might be a good idea to reduce or stop using social media for a while.
4. Do more of the things that make you happy
Fill your days by doing something you enjoy. Exercising is an excellent way to lift depression, and if the gym’s closed, a run or cycle ride can help you to stop brooding on things. If you prefer to exercise indoors, there’s an array of online classes to suit every taste and level of fitness, from yoga to weight training.
If you enjoy arts and crafts, get creative. When you’re totally absorbed in an activity, you will experience “flow”, a state of mind when time becomes meaningless, and worries and anxieties float away.
Listen to entertaining audiobooks or podcasts, or if you want something more tranquil, try a relaxing mindfulness or meditation app.
5. Learn something new
Make the most of your time at home by learning something new. Many people are taking the opportunity to learn a new language - there are lots of free lessons online for all levels of ability. You can take classes in cooking, gardening, painting, or dressmaking - the options are endless. Or you could improve your DIY skills and learn woodwork or car maintenance.
6. Volunteer to help others
Volunteering to help others is an excellent way to ward off loneliness. Being part of a group of like-minded people is a great way to make new friends and boost self-esteem. If social distancing temporarily rules out group activities, you could volunteer to befriend and phone someone who’s housebound for a chat.
7. Reduce your stress levels
Stress and anxiety can increase feelings of loneliness. In stressful times, Bach flowers can relieve stress and anxiety, improve sleep and help you to focus. Caring for a pet has also been shown to reduce stress levels. And if you have a dog, you have a further bonus of daily walks and the opportunity to chat with other pet owners.
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