Loneliness is a strange thing.
We can be surrounded by a crowd of hundreds and yet still feel an empty, lonely feeling in our hearts.
Right now, the number of those experiencing loneliness is undoubtedly shooting through the roof, even for those who have loved ones nearby.
So how can we fight loneliness? Or more specifically, how can we combat loneliness when it is we ourselves who feel it?
It starts with self-love
I know. It sounds cheesy.
But if we can learn to love ourselves just as we love those whom we enjoy spending time with, then we can learn to enjoy our own company.
Take a moment to think about how you perceive yourself.
What thoughts do you tell yourself from day to day? Are they positive, negative or maybe just neutral?
What do you think when you look in the mirror? What do you say to yourself when you make a mistake, and how does it make you feel?
If you’re saying and thinking things about yourself that are negative, and you know you wouldn’t say these about/to someone else, then there’s an opportunity to improve your relationship with yourself.
- On a piece of paper, write down 10 things you think you could improve about yourself.
- Now write down 10 things you like about yourself.
- Take note of how easy or difficult writing each of these lists are.
I know personally that for me, it's very easy to write a list of negative things, but that’s okay if you find yourself in the same boat! This can be due to our negativity bias (go check it out if you haven’t heard of it!).
- Now, rip off the section of the paper with your negative list on it.
Scrunch it up, and throw it in the bin. Do it. It feels great.
- Keep your list of positive things about yourself, and put it somewhere you can see every morning. It may be on a mirror, on your bedside table, or you might make it into a list stored on your phone.
- Every morning, say out loud “I love that I…” and fill in the blank with one of the items on your list. Choose a different item each morning to recite, and keep it up! You may even add to the list as you go.
Learning to enjoy your own company
I think it’s natural to feel lonely and bored when we’re stuck at home, especially when we’re used to being out and about.
But we don’t have to rely on others to keep us from being lonely. In fact, we shouldn’t! At least not completely.
Human connection and relationships are an incredibly important part of our lives, and they contribute to our mental wellbeing - but the reality of life is that we cannot control anything outside of ourselves.
If we rely solely on others (or other things) for our own happiness and mental wellbeing, and then they are taken away from us, our mental health can begin to break down.
The most relevant example of this is that we may feel loneliness as a result of physical isolation.
So what can you do to learn to enjoy your own company?
Well, do exactly what you’d do when spending time with others - activities!
10 activities to do at home
For those who aren’t “homebodies” (like myself) it can be tricky to find things you might enjoy doing around the home. But it’s okay, we’re here to help!
Here’s some great ideas you might like to try:
- Start a home project.
Create a feature wall with a fresh coat of paint or a collage of photos/art; spruce up the garden and get that old water fountain running again; or rearrange furniture to give your space a new look. Whatever it is, enjoy it!
- Learn yoga.
There’s plenty of yoga tutorials and follow-along sessions online. YouTube is a great place to search for these.
- Plant some seeds.
And watch them grow! It can be incredibly rewarding to watch new life emerge, knowing that you enabled it to take place. You could even paint/decorate the pots you plant them in.
- Learn to do nail art.
Just because you’re home, doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason to make your nails look stunning. It’s great practice for patience, too.
- Try a new recipe.
Take a risk. Try something crazy. Bake a fancy cake or create your own recipe.
- Learn a new craft.
It might be cross stitch, woodwork, oil painting, photography... The world (or home) is your oyster.
- Do a puzzle.
We all have an old puzzle sitting at the back of a wardrobe somewhere. But if you don’t, try making one by printing out a picture, sticking it on a thick piece of cardboard and cutting it into puzzle pieces!
- Learn a language.
You never know when it will come in handy, and it’s good brain training! You could even do some history research to enrich your knowledge of the culture.
- Become a self-taught expert in something new.
If there’s a topic you’ve always wanted to learn about, write down some questions you have and try to answer them with the power of the internet (and books)!
- Organise your pantry, wardrobe or workshop.
Start off by taking everything out and looking at what you’ve got. You may discover an ancient can of four bean mix, or find that hammer you lost back in 2012. As you start to sort everything into its rightful place, you can try using Dymo labels or stickers to take organisation to the next level.
Liz Gellel, Communications Coordinator