How to Cope With and Overcome Loneliness

3 years ago / by Melanie Fourie

February heralds the month of love for those who are dating or committed. For many, this spells sweet Valentine’s Day surprises, heart-shaped candies, oodles of affection, and togetherness. However, the deluge of ecstatic couples is also a painful reminder of an unfulfilled love life for singles.

A recent study revealed that 82% of Americans preferred to spend Valentine’s Day with someone. It is therefore no surprise that many singles feel a heightened sense of loneliness on that day. If this is you, it is best to ascertain whether you are indeed lonely, or just succumbing to the hype surrounding Valentine’s. If it turns out you feel unloved and isolated, don’t fret, as there are steps you can take to fill the void. Here’s how to do this.

Signs That You Are Chronically Lonely

You may not always be aware that you’re lonely, as the signs may be subtle. However, according to Healthline, these are some of the symptoms of loneliness:

  • Listlessness or decreased energy levels
  • A lack of appetite
  • A compromised immune system, resulting in consistent illnesses
  • Insomnia and sleeping disorders
  • A need to binge-watch movies
  • Substance abuse
  • An overwhelming need for ‘retail therapy.’
  • An increased need for all things cozy, like warm beverages or blankets

The Detrimental Effects of Loneliness

According to The Hindu, Dr. Venkatesh Babu, a psychiatrist at Fortis Hospital in Bengaluru says loneliness can be a cause and consequence of mental health issues. He said that people “tend to engage in different kinds of behavior, due to loneliness. Some may over indulge in social platforms, others may use substances.” He added that others could succumb to risky behavior like speeding. On a more positive note, he noted that, “loneliness may result in lifestyle modifications such as joining fitness classes, and seeking outdoor adventure.”

Research conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) also reported that loneliness could result in hypertension, obesity, a weakened immune system, death, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s, depression, and anxiety.

Overcoming Loneliness

These coping mechanisms could help combat loneliness.

Connecting with Your Higher Power

Connecting with your higher power has always helped people re-align with their life’s purpose. Doing so can also divert your mind from your situation. Religious groups also feel less lonely when doing so. For instance, many Christians attest that spending time in God’s presence gives them the re-assurance that they are not alone, and that God is just a prayer away.

Agape Love, Self-Kindness and Self-Care

Practicing agape love; a charitable, unconditional, and selfless love which Hindu’s call karuna, can also divert your attention from loneliness. So reach out with an act of kindness toward others to feel better.

Also practice kindness toward yourself. Be sure to avoid discouraging self-talk. Remember that the last thing you should be doing is beating yourself up about why you are single. Note that everyone’s life journey is unique, so you should not compare yourself to others.

You should also practice self-care and take time out for yourself. Take a walk in nature. It’s almost impossible to feel alone when in nature, as everything is connected and holds the blueprint of a common maker.

Or indulge in some pampering by booking a spa day for yourself and a friend. Loneliness promotes illness, so do eat healthy meals, and engage in an exercise form that you enjoy to boost your immunity.

Reaching Out In Person, Safely

Try to connect more in real life, as opposed to connecting on social media via messaging or video call. Reason being is that the lack of physical connection can make you feel even lonelier. If you must connect online, try connecting where you engage with others like an online chat or game.

Remember face-to-face interaction with people helps boosts your mood, so do engage in sports and fun activities, via Covid-19 compliance of course. Also, the maxim goes that one should not talk to strangers, but just saying “hello” to someone can make you feel more connected.

While these suggestions may not replace having a significant other, they can surely help divert your attention from being single. Also, helping others and practicing self-kindness will make you feel better.