Time alone is necessary for our mental well being. When we spend time by ourselves we are able to rest our psyches from the stresses and strains of everyday life. We are then better equipped to re-engage with others afterwards.
Spending time alone also means that we give ourselves the mental space to process our thoughts, for example, something may have happened which has concerned or worried us. We may have been very busy and not have had a chance to reflect on it but it is nevertheless causing us an underlying stress. If we are able to spend time thinking through the issue we can see it more objectively and can either think what to do about it or realise it’s not as important as we first thought.
Some other healthy ways of spending time alone are:
- taking a power nap
- visualising our hopes and dreams
- planning future ideas and goals
However, sometimes we can feel lonely. Maybe we have had too much time on our own or we feel like we don’t fit in eg we are having difficulties in our relationship or find ourselves in a crowd of people where we feel we don’t belong.
This can lead to feelings of:
- lack of self-worth and self-esteem
- lack of connection to society and engaging in our community
- lack of energy and apathy towards daily tasks
- reliance on technology for our social interaction eg gaming, chat rooms and social media
If you are experiencing loneliness or isolation over a prolonged period of time it is important to take action before it leads to depression.
Ways To Tackle Loneliness
- Get up, get dressed. Find one thing to do which requires you to leave the house and engage in the world outside.
- Find someone to talk to, make a phone call to someone every day
- Start a journal to get your thoughts and feelings out of your head to stop recurring negative thoughts
- Arrange a coffee/tea/lunch date with a friend
- Shop locally so that you can meet people, pop into your local library
- If you are having relationship difficulties book an initial session at Relate to help you both work out ways to communicate better
- If you are recovering from a break up be gentle on yourself and give yourself permission to recover
- Spend quality time with a pet and/or children so that you can focus on something other than yourself
- Take a cuddly toy to bed with you as a comfort whilst you feel lonely
- Take up a new hobby or adult education class where you will meet like-minded people
It can be challenging to summon up the courage to get out there and engage with others when a part of us doesn’t feel like it but remember we only need one person to talk with to reduce our loneliness.
Start with a smile and a hello and see what happens……