4 Tips to Free Yourself From Feeling Lonely

Are you feeling lonely right now?

Or, have you had moments of loneliness lately? The irony is that you are far from alone in your loneliness. In almost every conversation I have had with people lately, the topic of loneliness has come up. It is weighing heavy on many people and on our communities. In one study by Ettman, et al, researchers found that the rates of depression and anxiety have tripled since the start of the pandemic in the U.S. This is no doubt partially due to loneliness.

This time of year can hold big feelings for people to begin with. In a normal year, people may remember lost loved ones or they may dread spending time with loved ones during the holidays. This year, those feelings may be intensified by current circumstances. I have had my own moments of missing my “normal life,” i.e. meeting friends out for dinner, hosting get togethers, being invited to go somewhere with a family member or friend. 

There is more going on though. People are feeling burnt out and they are feeling unsure of when they will get a glimpse of what they used to have in their life. This leads to a variety of feelings that are difficult to understand. When we have big and challenging feelings, we can have conflicts with other people. So, not only are people struggling with being away from people they care about, the holidays, and typical daily lives, but they are reporting having more misunderstandings and conflict with others.

We all want generally the same thing: To feel seen, heard, and valued. However, when we are away from our loved ones and doing the things to keep ourselves safe and sane, we may feel disconnected. 

What to Do if You’re Feeling Lonely:

1. Communication is paramount.

If you are feeling disconnected, chances are that someone you care about is feeling the same way. Reach out to them and ask to schedule a phone or video date. It may not be in person, but if you can catch up, share memories, or laugh together, it will have the same effect of releasing oxytocin in your brain, and oxytocin is the feel good hormone. 

2. Adjust your way of thinking about your current situation.

Is there another perspective that you could choose? 

 “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor E Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

3. Keep looking for the light and the wins each day.

These things may be as simple as getting up when your alarm went off, going for a walk, showing up at work, or just getting dressed. Acknowledge what you’ve done well each day so that when you wake the following day, you know that you can make good choices for yourself. 

4. Visualize!

Allow yourself to have moments of seeing yourself in your happy place- with other people, on a beach, walking on a mountain trail, sitting by a river, or whatever your happy place is for you. Giving yourself time to move away from your thoughts in order to see and feel something that feels good can change your mindset and the way you approach your day. 

How I Can Help

If you want additional support, I offer some different options: