An honest dialogue about love, life, and everything in-between...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Single ≠ Lonely

1:00 PM |

Some tips on beating the single blahs....

Let's be honest, sometimes the single life can start to feel a bit lonely and empty. And with the fall/winter coming, people slowing down, staying in - it can start to feel even lonelier. So when my solo-ness starts to transform itself to loneliness, here are some of the ways I try and beat away the grey clouds.

Go Do Something:
Anything.  It doesn't have to be major, just get out of the house.  Go run/walk.  Let the sun hit your face. Get up and go somewhere and make it special to you.  Even if it's just going to Wally-World. Put on some clothes you feel good in, fix your hair, and go. You don't have to have an agenda, just drive and when you feel like stopping - stop.  If you want to purchase something - do it.  If you want to eat something - eat it. And take your time doing it.  Or you can just plan to do something.  Plan a trip - really plan a trip. The planning alone can take some of the dreary off your day.  Sometimes a day of doing whatever randomly comes to heart and indulging your whims can help shift your mood.

Plan to Stay in:
You can do the opposite of going out and really plan to stay in. You can do a project around the house - paint a wall, fix a cabinet, organize a closet. That may be a chore, but think of how different you will feel once that overhanging, ever looming task is complete.  Or you can do nothing at all and make a day of it.  Put on your fuzzy socks and favorite lounge clothes and plan to do a Godfather movie marathon all day.  Make coffee or tea and get lost in a book.  Make it more about choosing to spend time at home relaxing than being just stuck in the house.  And be happy to tell people you did nothing all day!

Try Something Different/Learn Something:
Sometimes you can occupy your mind with a new activity.  Watch cooking shows and pick something new to try and make for dinner.  Always wanted to learn how to do something? Play an instrument? Learn a new language? Sew? There are tutorials and books for any and everything out there - pick one and do it.  Or if you have a hobby, plan on dedicating a large chunk of your day just indulging yourself in your hobby.

This is something I used to do but I don't do much of these days, but I do hope to start doing again. If you're not a people person, go volunteer at a local animal shelter or your city's humane society.  Find out how to be a mentor.  It's election season - help people get to the polls. Sometimes getting out and helping out can do more for you, the volunteer, than it does for the people you help.

Plan a Play-Date:
Take some time to reconnect with your friends, physically not virtually.  With all the avenues technology gives us these days to keep in touch with people, sometimes it's easy to forget how long it's been since you've actually sat down face to face with that person.  Get off line and plan to hang out with your friends. My friends and I plan dinners or weekend trips or visits around holidays or cultural events (like CIAA, homecoming, Christmas). I know it's not necessarily  quick fix to beat the blues, but by planning it, you not only make sure that people can actually attend, it starts to become something to look forward to - a priority.  And sometimes knowing that people are just as excited to see you as you are to see them can help you not feel so isolated.

Step Away From Social Media:
You may think that if you're feeling lonely it's a good idea to jump on your social media outlet of choice and chat, look at photos and virtually see what your friends are up to.  WRONG!  While social media has been great with allowing people to keep up with one another, and reconnect with friends long gone, it can have a way of making you feel like you aren't doing ish with your life.  I mean after a certain age your timeline and feeds start transitioning from party photos, drama, LOL memes and random musings, to photos of kids, announcements of engagements or deaths, promotion declarations, wedding planning details, and other keeping up with the Joneses swaggery.  If you're people are at a party and you're not you wonder - why didn't I know about this.  If your people are getting engaged you or have gone from 'single' to 'in a relationship' you wonder - how is it THEY can find someone but I'm here alone.  Constantly reading about what other people are doing can start to make you question your life and what you have going on wether you realize it or not.   Close that window.

Go Home:
I know there are times when I look up and MONTHS have gone by with out me visiting my parents or going home for a weekend.  (And I only live 2 hours away from them). But sometimes it helps to just go back home for a few hours, a day, a weekend.  It helps you reconnect with familiar surroundings and can help you feel a bit more grounded. I know that everyone doesn't necessarily have that traditional 'home', so return to the place you come from, or wherever 'home' is for you. If your family is loving and caring, going home can remind you that there are people there who love you (typically) no matter what. If your family is ratchet, it'll help reiterate the fact that you are doing or have done what is best and make you feel so much better about your life decisions.

These are just some of the things I do when the sound of silence starts to get too loud.  And I'll be honest, sometimes it doesn't always work.  It can seem too simple or one size fits all, but in general I think when we start to think too much about what we are doing/haven't done/have to do - that's when the loneliness can start to creep in. Taking time out to enjoy your present can help you center yourself and allow you to acknowledge the good things.

But this is just what I do. What do you do when you start to feel lonely?


Anonymous said...

Right on about the social media thing. I definitely get lost in social media when I'm feeling lonely and it always makes me feel like crap. Thanks for sharing!