December, and Christmas in particular, is a tough time of year for many, and this year seems to be on a whole new level in terms of the challenges that we are being faced with.
Being alone and loneliness are two totally different states of being, and while it is good to be alone - as that’s how we grow, recharge and connect with our true selves - for many people being alone can too easily turn into loneliness.
Loneliness is something that can creep up on us in an unexpected way, like an unwelcome visitor, and make us feel utterly miserable for the entirety of its stay.
The weird thing is about loneliness is that you don’t have to be alone to feel it. You can be in a room full of people. And the worst is being in a room full of people that are your family or friends and still feeling lonely.
Loneliness is often a state of mind - a mental and emotional state - rather than something physical.
Loneliness, as a short term emotion, can actually be beneficial as it calls us to question ourselves and our relationships - which can actually help to strengthen relationships.
Chronic loneliness over a prolonged period however weakens our mental and emotional health and also our immune system, impacting our physical health too.
One of our six human needs is connection (not only connection to self but also connection to others), its therefore important that we understand and nurture this need so that we can ensure that we are taking care of our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.
Something to consider too is that we all need to be thinking of how we can connect to the planet. Nature offers us a huge amount of healing opportunities when we connect to her. It is important that you understand this on your journey into happiness and health.
Solitude can be a wonderful healing experience, however it needs to be balanced with connection to others, which depending on if you’re a natural introvert or extrovert will vary in terms of how much time you need to be alone and how much time you need to be connected to others.
This is where self-awareness is vital in your roll to keep yourself healthy and happy!
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to understand what YOU need to create the perfect alone time for yourself, whilst avoiding the feeling of loneliness:
Here are some powerful tips to help you to navigate the feeling of loneliness, especially around the festive period:
Know when your ‘worst’ times are – (mine used to be a Sunday morning when I didn’t have my daughter and I felt like I was missing out on family time). I learnt to plan breakfast and brunch meetings with my friends and family members or I would arrange to meet someone for a walk or a gym session.
You can arrange to meet and walk, run, paint, draw, play scrabble, or watch a film - there are so many things, you just have to learn to be creative and make sure that you book something in the diary so it becomes a set date rather than a loose plan.
See the time alone as a gift – it wont always be like that, the time in solitude you can use for meditation, personal growth, learning a new skill – there are thousands of resources on line.
Make the effort to have group Zoom sessions with individuals and close friends and family in groups, where you can reconnect to people – the great thing here is that with technology you can reconnect to people who live all over the world!
Find group of people – there is an abundance on line- who have similar interests.
Learn to up-skill on your cooking so that you can use the time making delicious meals for yourself which will feed and nurture that amazing body of yours!
Have a select friend or two that knows and loves you who you can reach out to when you are feeling lonely, someone who is positive and supportive so that you can feel like it's ok to reach out and not feel like you're a burden. (I have a couple of close friends and we offer each other equal amounts of support so neither feel like we are burdening each other we just know that we have each other there for the odd message of support).
Watch comedy or read a book or listen to a podcast that makes you laugh. The action of laughter creates happy hormones in the body which will help you to feel more joyful even if you are alone.
Finally and most importantly, this is the cure all for any un-resourceful expression of emotion: Write your list of gratitude. Get really grateful for this time, get grateful that you can eat, clothe yourself, have a job/career/home/warmth….the little things, do this daily and I promise you it will feel much more fulfilling an comforting to be you that is focusing on gratitude rather that you who is focusing on being alone!
I hope this helps
Love and light.