Loneliness is common among young professionals, particularly those living away from home or at a new job. And this loneliness is not just limited to their professional life. The pandemic has changed the social life of everyone for more than a year and the repercussions of it have taken the shape of mental health issues. Depression, anxiety, panic disorders are on the rise. And loneliness seems to have taken the top place as the overall emotion of the general public. It is absolutely okay to wonder how to deal with loneliness, be it personal or professional. The key is to find solutions that actually work for you and answer the age-old dilemma – how to avoid loneliness!
What Is Loneliness?
When people are alone, they don’t always feel lonely. While many people can still feel lonely even if they are surrounded by people. To put it simply, loneliness can be viewed as a signal indicating that some important social connections are at risk or even absent. Symptoms of loneliness may vary vastly from person to person.
Why do you feel lonely? Perhaps it’s people’s nature. Researchers find that loneliness can be passed down from parent to child. The genetic data collected from twins, relatives, and adopted children proves this trait is a part of their genetic makeup.
Loneliness is not only a component of human nature. Sometimes people feel lonely because they’re affected by others. Loneliness is contagious. People who are not lonely tend to become lonelier if they are around lonely people, according to research.
Signs Of Loneliness
Loneliness is a universal human emotion that is both complex and unique to each individual. Because it has no single common cause, the prevention and treatment of this potentially damaging state of mind can vary dramatically. Having said that, it is vital to know the common symptoms of loneliness.
- Loss of restful sleep: According to research published in the journal Sleep, loneliness can wreck your chances of getting a restful night’s sleep
- Indulging in longer showers or baths: The lonelier a person is, the more showers and baths they take, the hotter the water, and the longer they stay under the water
- Material possession love: The reason you’re so attached to your new computer, suped-up bike, or overpriced purse? According to research, some people go gaga over inanimate objects because they’re lonely
- Jumping from app to app: Social networking feels temporarily satisfying for people who turn to that as means of interacting
- Blowing things out of proportion: How many nerve-racking experiences have you had in the past month? If you can count them up without much hesitation (traffic jams, terrible weather, rude waitresses), that could point to loneliness
- Illness that refuse to go away: Sniffling, sneezing, and feeling crummy overall? It could be a bad case of loneliness. Loneliness has a systemic effect, possibly raising our stress hormone levels and making it harder for our bodies to repair the daily wear and tear of life
Loneliness: Causes & Impact
Before you learn how to deal with loneliness, it’s crucial to understand some important aspects of this mental and emotional condition. Maybe you’re new to a city and struggling to make friends. Or the people you love seem to be in a different phase of their lives than you are. Or you’ve got all the friends you could possibly want, but you still don’t feel connected. The causes can be different for everyone.
Loneliness can also be attributed to internal factors such as low self-esteem. People who lack confidence in themselves often believe that they are unworthy of the attention or regard of other people, which can lead to isolation and chronic loneliness.
Loneliness has a wide range of negative effects on both physical and mental health, including:
- Alcoholism and drug use
- Altered brain function
- Alzheimer’s disease progression
- Antisocial behaviour
- Cardiovascular disease and stroke
- Decreased memory and learning
- Depression and suicide
- Increased stress levels
- Poor decision-making
Armed with this information, it can become easier to know how to cope up with loneliness.
5 Ways To Prevent & Cure Loneliness At Work & Home
1. Create A Solo To-Do List
If you only ever try to cure your loneliness by surrounding yourself with people, it can be remarkably short-lived. As soon as that person leaves, you’re lonely again. And that’s why you need to learn to do activities on your own to better your knowledge of how to avoid loneliness in the first place. Instead, have a list of easy yet fun activities you enjoy or would be willing to try when you’re lonely. Try putting together a puzzle, playing on your phone, crocheting, quilting, watching movies, painting, journaling. The goal is to distract from acute loneliness in a healthy way. Better yet, take yourself to dinner, a movie, the park, a museum, a place you’ve always wanted to go.
2. Meet Similar People Via Groups
Did you know why book clubs among working women in metropolitans were such a huge hit? It was a way for them to address the common query of how to deal with loneliness at work. Whether you work at an MNC or a small startup, working from home has led to a divide between coworkers and isolation is taking its toll. So the best way out of this is to get together in a variety of ways.
If you can establish a new hobby that puts you with like-minded people, there’s nothing like it. Always wanted to hike or paint or learn photography? Look for classes or groups that are welcoming to beginners. The focus is to find a place where you’ll be around people, even if you’re not necessarily making friends. If you happen to meet somebody great there, even better. Try something that works the best for you and stay stress-free, whether it’s professional or personal.
3. Make A List Of People You Can Count On
The key to having peace of mind is to be around or with people who love you. This is especially true if you are on the hunt to learn how to cope with loneliness after a breakup. Breakups often multiply the feeling of loneliness and can push you into deeper despair. Is it a friend, family member, or acquaintance who keeps things positive? Give yourself a list of people to lean on when you feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to. You want to keep your options open, so list as many as you can. Wondering why it feels great to vent out to your bestie? Friendships help us deal with issues and heal as well. Avoid leaning on a single person, if you can — it can put too much pressure on the relationship and leave you reeling if they’re not available when you call.
4. Move Your Body In Ways You Enjoy
Exercise is great for keeping you well and less stressed, but have you thought about it as a way to meet new people? It’s not so much about exercise as it is about getting in touch with your sensory system which can encourage a state of connection and flow. What you’re trying to do is engage your body and engage your mind out of loneliness. Surfing, dancing, playing sports, sailing, walking barefoot in sand or grass — all of these can help you pay attention to the sensations in your body. There are lots of exercise groups and ‘social’ sports leagues which are aimed at beginners that can help you resolve the question; how to deal with loneliness in a new city!
5. Consider Going To Therapy
With mental health still not given the priority, it deserves in the country, the sudden change during this pandemic has dealt a setback to those who were planning to seek help. To make this process of seeking help for mental health issues, here are a few platforms that offer online therapy and counselling for you.
- Manastha: An online counselling and therapy consultation platform, this organisation is all about no judgement and no mental tags
- YourDOST: This provides not just therapy but a self-test to help you evaluate your mental state
- HopeQure: It offers online therapy and counselling services to help you with any, every mental health challenge you’re going through
- Minderapy: It helps you consult the best psychologist, counsellor and mental health therapist
- IPH: The Institute For Psychological Health is a safe space for all those seeking solutions for mental health issues
The answer to the question of how to deal with loneliness may vary but trying these solutions will certainly do no harm. Remember, loneliness is temporary and everyone has times when they feel lonely. Taking even just a few of the steps above can help reduce your isolation and should help you start to feel better.