First Steps in Getting Through Loneliness

First Steps in Getting Through Loneliness

Begin by relating to yourself so that you can relate to others.

Feeling good about yourself and knowing what makes you feel good, even when alone, is important. Improving your relationship with yourself through self-care and knowing what you enjoy can reduce loneliness. Remember that self-care can mean different things to different people. Try out different things and persist – the answers don’t always come straight away.

Self-care varies for each person: these are activities that bring you comfort and/or joy. Think about what makes you feel alive and happy:

  • Solo activities like walking, crafting, or cooking can be fulfilling. Physical activity, watching favourite movies, and decluttering are different things you can try.
  • Comforting activities can be: background TV noise, a hot shower, a cup of tea.
  • Appreciating your life from a glass half full perspective (vs. glass half empty) can result in feelings of gratitude.

Don’t worry if these activities bring only a mild flicker of joy at the start. It is important to keep going no matter what because many flickers will eventually build up to become a flame, and then fire. James Clear in Atomic Habits recommends that, rather than make big dramatic steps which are unsustainable, that we take small, sustainable steps on a regular basis. It is this consistency that produces change, and change is what we are after.


Taking first steps

It can feel overwhelming to take steps to meeting new people, especially if you’ve felt lonely for a long time. If that’s the case, it’s important to take small steps that you can manage, so that you continue to step forward (Atomic Habits!).

For example, you could make it a habit to say hi and thank you to the cashiers in your local supermarket. In time, you might recognise the regulars, particularly if you have a routine of shopping on particular days and at particular times. Another example would be remembering to greet your neighbours. It is also OK to find comfort being in crowded places such as cafes and supermarkets, so that you feel less isolated.


Connecting to others

For others, it may not be the lack of people and isolation. You might feel disconnected even when surrounded by other people, or that your relationships with others lack depth. If there’s someone you trust, you could try opening up to them (e.g. family member, friend, colleague). You can start small by opening up to others with a text if you’re worried or unsure about talking face-to-face to begin with. Since many people have experienced loneliness, you may feel relieved when you start talking and normalising how you are feeling.

Remember though, that opening up to others means you’ll make yourself vulnerable. For this reason, it is important to take good care of yourself in the process – it’s a balancing act of self-care while opening up to others. If you find this difficult, you may find it helpful to visit a therapist to help you through this.


Social media beware!

Last but not least, remember to beware of what you see on social media. People’s lives may not always be as portrayed. People only show what they wish to be seen by others. If viewing photos of other people’s lives makes you feel lonely, it might be worth considering this and weighing up the costs and benefits of being connected through social media. You might need to pause, or be more selective. Essentially, social media tends to lead people to compare themselves to others – this can sometimes be useful but if you’re feeling lonely, it might be strategic to pause connections for the time being.


If you would like to have a conversation further on how to navigate this and would like to engage with one of our therapists to support your journey, please contact us at Prosper Health Collective for further information on 6381 0071.

Pek Lee