3 Ways To Lessen The Intensity Of Loneliness

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Written By Tana

It has been 4 months since her husband passed. She now has that dreaded first Christmas without her husband of 60 years. She is tearful and even angry. His absence leaves a noticeable void that cannot fully be filled no matter what positive things she tries to remind herself of. Her family and friends rally around her, but the void cannot go away entirely.

Can you relate to this?

Are there ways we can lessen the intensity of loneliness?

 

Many people feel this way around the holidays at some point in their lives. It could be a loss of a loved one, a cherished pet even or just not having anyone to share the holiday season with. The American Psychological Association says at least 1 in 4 people feel this way around the holidays. I feel this could even be higher. There are also some people who have others around them, but still feel alone. You may not think they’re lonely, but they are.

 

There will be times in our lives when we feel loneliness. I don’t think anyone can get through life without experiencing this emotion.

Here are 3 tips that may help to lessen the intensity of loneliness?

 

1. Acknowledge how you feel – it’s okay. There isn’t anything shameful about feeling loneliness anytime of the year. It is part of life and if it’s our reality, it is. Admitting it can help you to formulate a more effective plan to minimize it, if that’s your choice to do so.

 

2. Anticipate and plan for it.  If you have had a change in your life circumstances, you probably already know that you might have a rough time over the holidays. Knowing that possibility, start planning ahead on what you can do to combat that. If you have family or friends nearby, plan on being with them. Actively participate. For example, bring a Christmas dish to the get together. Or fill your house with friends or your family. This will keep you focused on preparing things for company and fill your house with chatter and people.

 

There may be others near you that are in the same boat as you. Do you know anyone who may have loss a loved one recently or is away from family? There is no shortage of elderly folks around that often suffer loneliness, especially around the holidays. You can reach out to retirement homes, assisted living communities or nursing homes to find plenty of loneliness. Ask the director how you might brighten their Christmas. You may be able to help with their Christmas dinner or festivities. Sometimes you can even leave little gifts for each resident. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate, just something that may brighten their day a little. This takes the focus off you and puts it on others. This can do wonders for your own sense of loneliness.

 

You can also check in with your church to see if they have any activities they are doing and join them. Your church may also have an idea of others who may also be suffering with loneliness and you all could have your own get together.

 

None of these interest you and you simply will be alone? Why not plan something special for yourself then? What are some things that you don’t typically do, but that would be special and enjoyable? It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but something planned out just for you. It could be playing some joyful Christmas music while sipping hot cocoa, bundled up in a blanket on your recliner. Maybe it is buying or renting a Christmas movie or other fun movie while you eat a special meal. Or what about a nice warm bath with scented candles and relaxing music. Not too relaxing though as you don’t want to fall asleep. The point is, just because you are alone, doesn’t mean you can’t do something for yourself.

 

3. Remembering good times.  If you have loss someone you love, which is contributing to these feelings of loneliness, you might want to risk remembering good times with that person. The key word to remember in this exercise is gratitude. Life is revolving and we all suffer loss at different times in our lives. We don’t need to forget those we’ve loss, but we do need to find that perspective that allows us to remember them with a smile and move forward with our life. Of course, it is easier said than done, but that work continues.

 

If you want to try this exercise, I suggest planning a special time to do this. Meaning doing something nice for yourself and when you will not be interrupted. Maybe it is curling up on the couch, having a warm drink and maybe even something that reminds you of this loved one, if you’d like. It could be music they liked, their favorite book, clothing item or a photograph…

 

Starting with the moment this person came into your life, start remembering how you felt and what you did with this person. During this time, there may be sad things that come about. Know that, but have a plan to redirect those thoughts to positive memories and gratitude for being able to have had these special times with this person or pet.

 

If something unpleasant does comes up when you do this, that’s okay. It is your time to redirect that to the main focus of gratitude and positiveness. It is part of your story and you overcame. Your life moved forward. Just like reading a book, there are always challenges that we must work through and overcome, but the story moves on. After redirecting these thoughts, then move onto the next part of your life together. Do this throughout your time together and when you get to those last days together, it can get tough. This is where though, you can have a healthy breakthrough. Remember that person or pet had a life story just as you have yours, but your paths crossed and you shared part of your stories together. It is all part of a good book.

 

If your faith reassures you that you will be reunited in heaven, that’s awesome, and can help you tremendously in keeping your loss and loneliness in perspective. Your story continues, but so does theirs, just in a different location. You can know that your life story will include them again down the road. If you do not believe this is true, it doesn’t change that this person or pet was part of your life. You still can cherish those chapters, if you will, being grateful for the good times you had with this person or pet. And your story still continues as well…


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