If you are lonely, it’s important to first identify the reason for your loneliness. Is it due to the death of a loved one, a recent separation or divorce, a military deployment, distance from family, singleness? The reason may not be immediately changeable, but does require good coping skills in order to avoid sinking in to depression.
Here are 10 suggestions on how to deal with your loneliness:
1. Stay engaged in life.
Don’t isolate yourself. Plan to attend activities that don’t require a partner—a sing-along at church, a cooking demonstration, or a book signing.
2. Exercise self-care.
Get out an exercise. Eat well. Treat yourself to a massage or a good book. Take up a hobby.
3. Get a pet.
Pets make great companions if you can afford them and can work them in to your lifestyle.
4. Develop an attitude of gratitude.
Studies show that focusing on your blessings improves your mood.
5. Lose the self-pity.
There is always someone with a story more desperate than yours. Life is hard and loss happens. God helps us through hardship, but He never promised a life without heartache.
6. Help others.
Serve the homeless, take cookies to the elderly, or organize an event for a nursing home. Because our extended family doesn’t live in the area, we invite international university students who can’t go home for holiday dinners over to our house. Be creative.
7. Rethink your expectations.
With all the hype around the holidays, it is easy to think everyone is gathering and having the time of their life. Assess your situation, make realistic expectations and actively work at them.
8. Evaluate your friendships.
Have you spent time all year cultivating friends? If not, this may be one reason you are feeling lonely. Decide to make changes in the coming year to build relationships.
9. Do not use alcohol, shopping, eating or other vices to cope with lonely feelings.
When you feel down, write a list of behaviors that are healthy. Your list could include listening to upbeat music, calling a friend, writing in a journal, or reading the Bible.
10. Don’t give in to hopelessness.
Get out your Bible, read the promises of God, pray and worship. God never leaves you and offers His spirit to comfort you.