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How To Combat Loneliness


Written by Prisha Tiwari

Introduction

After the Covid-19 pandemic where we all had quarantine in our houses, limit face-to-face contact with friends, and stay cooped up with online classes for months. It’s safe to say we all have suffered some degree of loneliness. Although the pandemic is over, its effects can still linger on us, and loneliness in general is something numerous people struggle with. Loneliness is a normal human emotion and it is OK to feel. However, if you feel a powerful, constant feeling of loneliness, depression, suicide, or self-harm, please do NOT hesitate to reach out to a hotline, your school administration, and staff/or a trusted adult.


Suicide and Depression Hotline -

https://988lifeline.org/

https://www.boystown.org/hotline/Pages/default.aspx

Crisis and Self-Harm Textline - https://www.crisistextline.org/topics/self-harm/#what-is-self-harm-1


Strategies to Cope - Recognize Your Loneliness

However, if you just need some strategies to cope, you are in the right place!


The first thing you should do is recognize your loneliness. Talking to a therapist, counselor, or loved one can be very helpful. Let someone know what you are struggling with, they can help you, or just having someone listen to you and know what you're going through can really make you feel better.

Time Online - Good or Bad?

Another thing you can do is think about if you should spend more or less time on the internet. Being online can be useful to some people who are struggling with loneliness. Texting, face timing, and gaming with friends can be enjoyable for some. There are numerous resources too to help combat feelings of isolation.

On the other hand, it can make some people feel worse. For example, social media can make people feel inferior about their own lives when they see posts of others who seem to be living in a “perfect world.” In reality, this is not true because you only see the highlights of people’s lives on social media. The point is you need to recognize how the internet makes you feel and if you need to spend more time logged on or off.



Ways to Boost Social Interaction

A great way to feel less lonely is to boost your social interaction. Some ways you can do this is to find some volunteer opportunities or join a group or club that fits your interests and hobbies. Some places you can volunteer at an animal shelter, a senior enter, meals on wheels, a children’s hospital, or a soup kitchen. When you volunteer you spend your time and energy on a good cause with lots of people. Volunteering can give you a sense of fulfillment, a connection to others/your community, happiness, and reduce stress and sensations of depression. It also lets you meet new people who can become future friends that you can spend time with instead of being alone. All of this can ease your loneliness and make you a more satisfied person.

Joining a group or club that fits your interests/hobbies lets you use your time doing something you like while meeting new people who are similar to you. They can also become your friends who you then get to meet on a routine basis. You get to join a community based purely on a common love and appreciation for something. You can do this virtually or in person, and the options of what group you can join are endless.

Focusing On The Basics

Surprisingly, there are other ways that you can combat loneliness than just by interacting with more people. These strategies are no other than just paying more attention to our basic needs, just as exercising frequently, sleeping well, getting enough sunshine, and a healthy diet. Exercising triggers endorphins in your brain, or the “happy hormone.” They heighten your mood and cause you to feel better. Going outside in the sun has the same effect as exercising, it activates endorphins and serotonin, which make you happy!


Eating healthy definitely affects your brain healthy positively. Eating too much sugar, caffeine, preservatives, and overly processed foods, can increase your feelings of loneliness, and hurt your physical and emotional well-being. Focus on eating whole and nutritious meals and take note if it helps your mood.


How resting your sleep is very impactful on your emotional health. Poor sleep habits can increase feelings of depression, loneliness, and other negative feelings. Try practicing more suitable sleep patterns and you will feel more relaxed and happier.


We all have felt lonely before, and it can feel overwhelming and like there is nothing you can do. But there always is, and anyone can overcome it, you just need to figure out which approach to combat it is best for you.


Sources

"How to Deal with Loneliness: 5 Ways to Stop Feeling Lonely." Cigna,

www.cigna.com/knowledge-center/how-to-deal-with-loneliness. Accessed 25

Dec. 2022.

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