4 Ways To Cope With Loneliness Post-Breakup
It's time to do something about this challenging state of existence. Here's a way out of loneliness.
Everyone feels lonely from time to time. Deeper loneliness can set in after a break up in particular. Many people report staying in a relationship that isn’t going well too long just to avoid feeling lonely. Others feel so exceptionally lonely after a break-up that they jump right to the next relationship very quickly. This is understandable as we are wired to connect with others.
We are social creatures for sure. However, when loneliness becomes a regular part of your life, it's time to take action and break the cycle of solitude. Instead of feeling doubtful that you will ever form close bonds with anyone again, realize that loneliness is often a passing feeling that occurs when you move from one phase of life to another.
While you may be experiencing loneliness right now, taking proactive steps to connect with others will ensure that your lonely days will soon be behind you.
Take an interest in others
Sometimes feelings of loneliness occur when you've become so involved in your own situation that you fail to take an interest in others. Instead of dwelling on your own problems, use interactions with others to focus on them instead of yourself. Ask your neighbor how she cooks such an amazing pot roast really listen when she answers. Strike up a conversation with the other mother at the bus stop and take an interest when she tells you how her baby is finally sleeping through the night. When you focus on those around you, your loneliness may dwindle and vanish before you know it. You may have to challenge yourself to initiate social relationships. This may be out of your comfort zone, but the pay off could be very worth it.
Join a Group
If you're spending all of your time at home alone, it's no wonder that you're lonely. While it can be hard to put yourself out there, it's a surefire way to defeat loneliness. Learn a new craft by taking a class in photography, pottery or painting. Maybe it’s time to finally take up salsa dancing or yoga. Converse with your fellow classmates while you work to improve your skills. Alternatively, look for a group to join at your place of worship. Whether you volunteer to clean the sanctuary, prepare meals for group dinners or participate in community outreach programs, you'll soon become acquainted with others in the group and gain a feeling of belonging. Remember, boredom allows the feelings of loneliness to creep in!
Feelings of loneliness often stem from feeling unneeded. Experiencing a loss like the death of a spouse, a divorce or watching your children grow up and move away from home can all be triggers for loneliness. Instead of dwelling on the changes in your life, offer your services to a group or an individual in need. Volunteer at a local food bank, deliver meals to the housebound or visit and read to hospital patients who have no one else. When you fill an important need in the life of another, you'll regain your feelings of value and lose the loneliness.
Speak with a professional
When you find that your feelings of loneliness are accompanied by depression, it may be time to involve a professional. Make an appointment with your family doctor to assess your feelings of loneliness and depression. Your physician may prescribe an antidepressant medication or suggest that you seek counseling. A qualified counselor can definitely guide you through this period of loneliness and depression and help you learn to resolve your feelings in a positive way.
Even if loneliness feels like it's become firmly entrenched in your life, realize that it's really a transitory emotion and that it's within your power to banish it. While overcoming loneliness does take time, when you take steps each day to put yourself out there and connect with others, you'll soon find that your stretches of loneliness become fewer and further between and may vanish altogether.
Dr. Marni Feuerman* is a licensed psychotherapist and author of Ghosted and Breadcrumbed: Stop Falling for Unavailable Men and Get Smart about Healthy Relationships available on Amazon and everywhere else books are sold. Sign up for her newsletter to keep in touch and get the latest content on love, dating and relationships.
*Author note: This article originally appeared on YourTango.com. The struggle to cope with and regulate the many different emotions post-breakup (and in between relationships) can lead you to make poor choices. This topic, along with helpful solutions, is elaborated upon in my book, Ghosted and Breadcrumbed.