It’s not unusual to feel lonely after a breakup. The longer you have been with someone, the greater your sense of loss and very possibly a greater sense of loneliness as well. On top of that, we are still getting back to normal after the Covid-19 shutdowns. The isolation that we all experienced in varying degrees around the world, the loss of contact with friends and acquaintances on a regular basis has many people feeling lonely. When those circumstances coincide with one another, it can be a recipe for acute loneliness.
1. Loneliness is not the same as being alone
Many people treasure time alone. It’s a time to be creative, relax or simply veg out. Many people spend large amounts of time alone contentedly. Their self-esteem can be high. When they decide they want company, they go out and get it.
…for those who are newly single, it can be good to meet up with those who are single too. These groups can help you to meet people of both sexes, make new friends and potential partners.
Loneliness on the other hand often includes sadness. It’s a sense of not wanting to be alone. Wanting company, companionship, or more friends, but not having them. Those who are lonely for long periods of time can become depressed, irritable and they may grow to be self-centered – unable to see past their own loneliness. In long term cases of loneliness and depression a cycle of isolation, despair and self-blame can set it.
No one needs to accept loneliness as a way of life. Each of us has the power to make changes to our life that will bring us greater happiness.
2. Help others, help yourself
One of the best ways to step out of loneliness is to focus your energy on helping others. This can be as simple as calling on neighbors and friends and offering to help with projects, errands, etc. I and others have made lifelong friends, by stepping up to help a stranger. If you are shy and find approaching people you don’t know difficult, that’s okay. Volunteering with local organizations can also introduce you to new people. Organizations that are always in need include, food banks, animal shelters, soup kitchens as well as state and national parks. There seem to be so many natural disasters in the last few years. Helping to collect and distribute food, clothing, blankets, and water requires many people. Other ways to help can be in filling sandbags, boarding up windows and other pre-storm precautions. I have a good friend who regularly drives during stormy winter nights to help people stuck in the snow. As a volunteer, your new friends may be those who work beside you, or those you are working to help.
3. Join a local club or organization
For those who are newly single, it can be good to meet up with those who are single too. These groups can help you to meet people of both sexes, make new friends and potential partners. A simple browser search, using the term “groups for newly single people,” provided results for three different meet up groups, multiple support groups, including in person, or online groups.
Other opportunities abound. Most communities have adult sports programs. Just show up and be assigned to a team. Walking groups can be found online as well. Walking can lift your spirits, and conversations seem to happen naturally. Specialty stores, such as camera stores, yarn stores, and craft stores often have classes and group events that you can take part in as well.
4. Reach out to family and friends
Now that Covid isolation has ended, reach back out to those who’s company you enjoyed in the past. Invite people for dinner, a game night or even a group movie. People are missing you as much as you are missing them. Make the first step – maybe they are waiting for YOUR call.
5. If your loneliness is severe, short- or long-term therapy can help
Often human nature is to either blame others or blame ourselves when we hurt. As mentioned earlier, prolonged periods of isolation or loneliness can cause our self-esteem to plummet. When that happens, negative self-talk, feelings of isolation, and unworthiness can plague us and cause us to isolate even more. Finding a therapist, support groups, and actively practicing self-compassion can all help to get out from under the negativity. It can help you to love yourself. You deserve it. No one should be allowed to get emotionally bullied, by anyone, including themselves.
Take control of your life as much as you can. Don’t suffer in loneliness. Get active, be compassionate with yourself and chart a path that will create new and fun experiences and bring people back into your life.