Being alone and being lonely are not synonymous. You can be single and totally fulfilled or in a relationship with a huge void in your life. However, sometimes being single when you’re used to being with a partner can lead to feelings of loneliness. That’s okay. There are plenty of things you can do to feel content when you’re not in a relationship. Here are some simple ways to enjoy rolling solo without letting unhappiness overtake you.
1. Find a passion that lights you up.
Some people find that a relationship is their purpose. Being a spouse or a parent is what gets them out of bed in the morning, and that’s fine. But not having those things doesn’t mean your life is meaningless. In fact, finding and pursuing your passion can be just as fulfilling. The world seems much less lonely when you have a creative outlet or some other passion that lights you up. Find something you love to do, something that just feels right for you. Maybe it’s playing an instrument. Maybe it’s writing. Maybe it’s baking fancy cakes. Find something worthwhile to take up space in your life.
2. Add variety to your routine.
It’s easy to feel lonely when you’re doing the same thing day in and day out. Adding a little variety to your routine can help you to avoid getting stuck in a rut that spirals downward into depression and loneliness. There’s nothing wrong with having a routine that works for you, but try to spice things up every now and then. That might be as simple as cooking something a little different for dinner. Or it might be going for a spontaneous outing during the week. Mix things up in your life every now and then to avoid feeling isolated and alone.
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4. Spend time with nature.
You probably knew this already, but nature is actually really good for you! Aside from the benefits of getting fresh air and taking time out from staring at a screen, spending regular time with nature can be really beneficial for your mental health. One study published on Nature.com showed that spending just 30 minutes a week in nature could reduce the chance of developing depression and high blood pressure. Going for a walk in a park or on the beach can help to boost your mood when you’re feeling down and lonely.
5. Volunteer your time.
It feels good to help others. Even if you’re single or you don’t have too many strong friendships to fall back on, you can enjoy a connection with other people by volunteering your time. This is also likely to help give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment. It’s a little easier to sleep at night knowing you’ve made a positive contribution to the world. Luckily, there’s no shortage of opportunities to volunteer. There are endless problems plaguing the world right now, from homelessness to drug addiction to animal cruelty. Find a cause you’re passionate about and give back.
6. Use social media sparingly.
Social media is a double-edged sword when it comes to loneliness. On one hand, platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to connect with others when you’re physically alone. But on the other hand, these sites also promote comparison, bragging, and unhealthy perceptions. They can really mess with your self-esteem. To avoid feeling lonely, use social media sparingly. By all means, connect with family and friends who don’t live nearby. But don’t spend hours scrolling through images of happy couples. And if you do scroll, always remember that people only post on social media what they want you to see. Please don’t compare yourself.
7. Make self-care a priority.
Treat yourself, pamper yourself, spoil yourself: this should be the norm, even if you’re not battling with loneliness. The world is starting to catch onto the fact that we should be making self-care a priority, so it’s time to jump on board the bandwagon. When you make self-care a priority, you reinforce the fact that you’re actually worth caring about. You’re worthy of love. This reminder can make all the difference when you’re feeling lonely. Just because you’re not in a relationship, doesn’t mean you’re not lovable.
8. Set personal goals to achieve.
It’s easy to slip into feelings of sadness and loneliness when you’ve got too much free time. While there’s nothing wrong with taking time out for self-care, it’s also a good idea to keep yourself reasonably busy and productive. From personal experience, happiness comes more easily when you’re working towards a goal, no matter how small. Try setting some personal goals to achieve. They might be huge butterfly-inducing ambitions, like getting a book published. Or they might be part of a series of small steps, like learning to cook. Have something to work towards so you don’t have time to wallow in self-pity.
9. Get out there and see the world.
Um, who said you need to be dating to go on dates? As part of your self-care and self-love endeavors, plan some fun solo outings in your calendar. Get out there and do things that you want to do. The world is your oyster! There’s a common and problematic misconception that you have to miss out on certain activities because you’re single. Actually, you don’t have to miss out on anything because you don’t have a partner. Travel. Go to that restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. Go see that movie. Visit that quirky museum. Forget what people think and show yourself a good time.
10. Have a good support system in place.
You absolutely don’t need to have a romantic partner to be happy. That said, humans are social creatures, so it’s a good idea to have at least a small network of people to connect with and trust. These might be made up of family members, high school friends, work buddies, or anyone else worthy of your time. Nurture your relationships with the people who do have a place in your life. Have someone to chat to when you’re feeling stressed or sad. Work on having a support system in place—even if you don’t have a partner, you don’t have to take on all of life’s burdens all by yourself.
11. Focus on the positive aspects of being alone.
Being in a relationship might come with a lot of positives, but so does being alone. When you’re feeling down about being on your own and wishing you weren’t single, try focusing on the things to appreciate about single life. It’s definitely a positive that you only have to answer to yourself. You can do whatever you want without having to think about the needs of a partner. When you feel like curling up on the couch and watching Real Housewives reruns with a block of chocolate, you can without judgment. You have more time to work on yourself and your goals. Your life is unpredictable in a way that it wouldn’t be if you were in a relationship. And the list goes on.
12. Find a way to express your emotions.
Whether you have a partner or not, you’re bound to feel lonely sometimes. Single people have lonely moments and so do people in relationships. When you are feeling like that, it helps to express those emotions. You might like to find a creative outlet to release your feelings or write them down. Some people find that it really helps to talk to someone, whether that’s a friend or a therapist. Feeling lonely every now and then doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you or that you need a major life change. Sometimes, all you need to do is acknowledge the feeling, take these steps to address it, and then let it pass.