I have always lived and breathed positivity—it feels second-nature to me—it’s an integral part of who I am. But what about when we don’t feel positive? Or when it’s not easy to? Right now, the world is spinning and we have so many questions. It’s hard to find balance. It’s hard to work, let alone survive. And it’s hard to feel like we have no answers. But if I can offer anything right now, it’s my voice.
Here are eight small ways to feel less lonely right now. Perhaps, even if nothing else feels *normal,* we can remind ourselves that we’re all in this together.
1. Schedule Intentional ‘Check-In’ Time With Your Support System
It’s easy to say, ‘people care about you!’ but the follow-through is the hardest part. What if the people who care about you are just as busy? Or are navigating their own lives and getting caught up? One simple way to make time for others, and to allow others to make time for you, is to be intentional about scheduling calls and connection points.
Take a minute at the beginning of each week to reach out to family and friends. Ask when they’re free, coordinate time zone differences, and put calls or video chats on the calendar. It may feel like overkill at first, but the act of scheduling will make a commitment. And it will help to have these scheduled calls to look forward to each day or week.
PS: A resource I use is Google Hangouts. I schedule in Google Calendar and then where it says, “Add conferencing,” I select “Hangouts.” This creates an automatic link that users can click and join with video!
2. Join Online or Social Media Groups
At the start of the pandemic, I joined an amazing Facebook group dedicated to sharing educational resources. It’s been a God-send. Not only can I share my own thoughts, products, and information, but I can constantly be uplifted by others and their insight, too. (PS: I started a Facebook group surrounded on encouragement, positivity, and useful resources. You can join here!.)
Online groups can be digital support systems outside of family and friends. They can offer a connection to people beyond our sphere, inspire us, and help us learn that others are feeling how we’re feeling, too.
3. Start or Jump Into a Book Club
The wonderful thing about book clubs is that they don’t have to be in-person! With the wealth of books available online, you can find audiobooks even when the libraries are closed! Audiobooks are amazing because you can listen while you do other things (like cook, clean, garden, etc.)
Find a book club on your favorite social media site, by connecting with people in your network, or by creating one with weekly Zoom calls to discuss topics. I started a ‘mini’ book club with one of my tutoring clients. We are currently reading Where the Red Fern Grows and collaborating on a discussion board our thoughts at the end of every few chapters!
PS: You can get a free 30-Day trial of Audible with this link!
4. Try to (Safely) Get Out of the House
There are many ways to meet people, even during these weird times. If you’re looking for social connection, try sites like MeetUp that allows you to find people based on your passion or interest area. Although you’ll have to practice social distancing and avoid public places right now, it’s a great way to at least start new conversations and get out of your comfort zone.
5. Spend Time With Furry Friends
If you have a pet, this is the time to love on that creature! (Cue the memes of all the exhausted dogs as owners are now home 24/7 and walking them a million times!) If you don’t have a pet, see if you can do a social-distanced walk with a friend who does. Or, explore sites like Rover where you can get paid to walk someone’s dog (without having any human contact).
Animals are proven to be stress-relievers and mood-boosters. Even if it feels like a small and silly thing, spending time with animals is one of the easier ways to feel less lonely right now.
6. Pick Up a New Passion
As you navigate your new normal, try to find time for doing something fun—just because. Whether that’s planting flowers in a garden, trying a new recipe, painting, coloring, or attempting to learn how to French braid (my current project right now!) taking that time each day will help to distract you.
7. Volunteer (If Possible)
One of the most powerful ways to feel less lonely is to offer yourself to others. Even in the current climate, there are ways you can support others right now. One way is by becoming a Crisis Text Line counselor. As a counselor, you answer texts from people in crisis, helping them find clarity and comfort through listening, problem-solving, and creating safety plans.
You can also pursue virtual volunteering opportunities, too, to honor social distancing right now.
Other Ways to Feel Less Lonely:
If nothing else, I hope you remember you’re not alone right now. Even if you’re separated from loved ones, significant others, living by yourself, or battling mental illness right now—you’re not alone.
If you are seriously struggling, here are a few more ways to get connected:
- Search for small businesses in your area and see if you can purchase anything from their storefronts right now, for example, a local bookstore or craft supplies store.
- Follow supportive hashtags on social media: #SickNotWeak, #SPSM (stands for Suicide Prevention Social Media), and #KeepTalkingMH, for example.
- Reminisce through old scrapbooks, memory jars, or school yearbooks and connect with old friends/acquaintances on social media and ask them how they’re doing.
- Offer a supportive ear to someone else living alone or struggling right now.
Hopefully, this list has helped you find some actionable ways to feel less lonely, or at least reminded you that other people are going through what you are, too. We’re all in this together!
Featured Image Credit: TONL