We all have times where we feel lonely. Some days, weeks, months are worse than others, and it can take time and effort to not feel so anymore. That was me about a year ago. I felt terrible, alone and like there was nothing I could do. However, there’s so many things that you can do to feel better and focus on the things you have. It took me a few months and I’m still figuring things out, but I’m hoping that if you’re in a tough place and feel very alone, these tips can help you the way they helped me.
Learn to appreciate your own company
It is rare to have someone with you 24/7. People have jobs, hobbies, responsibilities and other friends/family. It’s also unhealthy to never be alone. Everyone needs time by themselves to reflect, to recharge and to discover themselves. Being by yourself can be amazing. You can put on your favourite movie one evening, cook something you love, have a glass of wine, look like trash, be disgusting and weird, and no one is there to judge you! You also get to know yourself better. So just imagine it like a night in with your best friend – just be your own best friend (as strange as that sounds).
Find a hobby
Hobbies are another great way to get to know yourself. You can have a lovely time (by yourself) doing something you really enjoy. You’ll discover whether you’re someone who sits down and doesn’t look up for 5 hours or if you’re someone that gets easily distracted, whether you’re someone that has 1 hardcore hobby or multiple chill ones, whether you like being inside or outside, if you’re a morning person or a night owl… There is so much to discover about yourself and having a hobby, or a few, is the perfect way to learn to appreciate your own company and find out what kind of person you are.
Find books and podcasts
If you’ve been here since the beginning or for a while, you might remember my post about books and podcasts for when you need a little bit of extra self-help. Books and podcasts are amazing at helping you grow as a person and overcome tough times. They can give you the tools you need to either seek help or figure things out for yourself. Keeping a journal is also a great way to help you cope with your loneliness. Writing things down can make you feel lighter, the same way you would after a conversation with someone.
Go to a café
I can feel quite awkward and embarrassed when I have lunch or a meal by myself. My mind always wonders why all these people are here with someone and I’m here alone. But you know what? There’s nothing wrong with taking yourself out to the restaurant and cinema. If that’s a bit too intimidating, try going to a café and ordering something to sit-in. Bring a book or your laptop, don’t wear headphones and just enjoy being in another environment. You might even make some new friends! I remember seeing cafés that offer little signs you can take to a table with you to signal to other people that they can join you and have a seat with you.
Discover new places
There is no cooler feeling than discovering a new place. Over the summer, my flatmate and I were both travelling at the same time and were both spending the night away from home to be closer to the airport: my flatmate at her sister’s and me in an Airbnb in Edinburgh. I’ve been to Edinburgh many times but this was my first time being there alone. Although it was a bit daunting at first to spend a whole day and night there alone, I had the best day ever: I spent a few hours at the National Museum of Scotland, went to a cat café, picked up some food at Wagamamas and ate it while watching Netflix in bed at the Airbnb (see photo above).
Having a solo day trip is really fun. You can do what you want, at your speed, the way you want to. You get so much freedom and you have a blast. So if you find yourself wallowing in your loneliness one day, hop into your car, the bus or the train and have a solo day somewhere you love or somewhere new. Of course, stay safe and let someone know where you’ve gone!
Sometimes you can feel lonely because you haven’t spoken to a loved one in some time and you feel like they’re living their best life while you’re just sitting here, feeling alone. So give someone a call and have a lovely chat. I can promise you that they will be happy to speak to you too. If someone is busy or not answering your call, don’t worry about it. They’re probably just not available: they could be in the shower, in the car, in a lecture, asleep, etc. So either try them again later or call someone else. You’ll feel very popular when you’re on the phone with someone and suddenly 3 other people are trying to get back in touch with you!
Meet up with someone
Sometimes, going for a coffee, a meal or a walk with someone can be just what you need to pick yourself up. So message someone who is nearby, who’s fun to be around or that you can have a meaningful conversation with. And if no one is available, revert back to point “discover new places”.
Don’t rely too heavily on one person
We usually all have one person that we feel most comfortable talking to, especially about things that aren’t easy to talk about. However, it’s not fair on either one of you to rely on just one person. It’s going to become a lot for them and you’re going to feel bad for putting all this pressure on them. And it’ll also make you feel worse when they need some time for themselves and you really want to speak to someone. It’s important to realise that no one can make you happy, only you can do that. And as cheesy as it sounds, change can only come from within.
Quite often, when we’re feeling lonely, it’s not that we’re simply missing something in our lives. Usually, there is something in our lives that we aren’t happy about and that’s slowly taking a toll on us. For me, it was doing a university course that didn’t make me happy and that slowly destroyed my soul. You might be unhappy in your job, in your uni course, in your town, in your relationship, in your friendship, you might have a (mental) health issue… the possibilities are endless and depend on your situation. It’s essential for you to take some time to reflect on your life and figure out what it is that has you feeling so down. Of course you can talk with others about it, but you are the only one that can truly get to the bottom of it.
So instead of just relying on one person, rely on yourself to reflect on your life and share the burden with different people. Different friends or family members play different roles in your life. I know that I can talk about anything with my best friend, that my brother is my go-to person when it comes to deep conversations, that I talk to my mum about my financial situation, etc. Discover what people play what roles in your life and then go to each person with different concerns. You’ll probably end up getting more and better help than you could have ever gotten from just one person.
You’re never too old to make new friends
You are never too old to make a new friend. I was scared, when starting my new uni course and my new job, that I would have trouble making new friends. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. I made a few lovely friends in uni and I made the bestest of friends very unexpectedly in work! Shoutout to Robyn, thanks for making work less miserable! So wherever you are in life, you will keep making friends. Quite often these come out of nowhere and can be life-long or linked to a certain time in your life. Celebrate your friendships, whether they’re old, new, past, or current.
You won’t always feel this way
Although it may seem like things are never going to get better and you’ll always be lonely, you won’t feel like this forever. Take it from someone who’s been at her worst, felt so alone she cried every day for weeks. Soon you’ll figure out how to overcome this feeling of loneliness and you’ll realise that there are many people on the planet that are – or can become – your closest allies. You are not alone.
So here it is, a few things that have helped me get over feeling lonely. There will always be times where you might feel a little lonely, but that’s normal and nothing to be ashamed of. I’m sorry if this post is a bit of a mess, I’ve got hand-ins soon and stress in work so my head’s a little all over the place. But if you’ve enjoyed, please like this post or go follow me on Instagram! Your support means everything to me so thank you so much. Enjoy your week and I look forward to seeing you next Sunday!