Feeling lonely after loss is more common than you might think.
Loneliness itself, is a perception. What I mean by this is that our feelings are relative to what we need in order to be fulfilled. So it’s totally possible to still feel lonely even when we’re surrounded by people we know and love.
The important thing is, when we notice we’re feeling lonely, that we can prevent ourselves from going down a spiral of self-isolation.
After loss, my inclination to stay at home and stay away from people took hold of me. I felt cut off from family and friends (who for them, daily life was going on as normal), left out and sometimes, misunderstood.
What I didn’t realise was that by intentionally isolating myself, I had become disempowered and felt stuck in a cycle of anxiety and depression.
The thing is, the longer our loneliness lasts the more challenging it can be to break our mind-set and unhelpful behaviour patterns.
In order to break free from our loneliness there are several things we can do. It’s not always easy and it takes a little courage. One of the reframes which really helped me, was to think of what I can give as opposed to what I can ‘get’.
Here’s 6 ways to break free from loneliness:
#1. Feel inspired. If you’re feeling socially isolated, consider volunteering or doing an activity you enjoy via a local group. These are good ways to meet new people. I still volunteer to this day because I know it will get me out of the house and around a bunch of lovely people.
#2. Re-connect. Take advantage of social media to reach out to friends you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while. If you feel like they’ve been ignoring you, give them the benefit of the doubt and see where the conversation takes you.
#3. Be optimistic. When you decide to reach out to somebody or take up a new activity, approach it positively and with a sense of curiosity. It’s true, your vibe attracts your tribe so choose to be open and approachable.
#4. Bond with a pet. Companionship doesn’t complete us but it certainly helps. You may want to (carefully) consider getting a pet to enhance your wellbeing. They give owners a sense of security and someone to share the routine of the day with.
#5. Be a people watcher (not in a creepy way). Getting out of the house and into a public place where you can just sit and observe, or be around people is a good first step. I often used to go to the library and read a book, or sit in a café and have a coffee. You could go to a sporting event or the cinema – wherever you feel comfortable.
#6. Open up. You may already have plenty of connections and still feel lonely. Talking about what’s going on for you is a good move. Whilst you may feel lonely, you’re not alone. You’ll be surprised who else is out there that feels the same.
You may want consider seeking professional support if you feel like your loneliness is getting in the way of moving forward.
You may also wish to join my free Facebook Group, Life Beyond Loss, where you can make some connections with wonderfully supportive people.