C6M Guide to Conquering Loneliness

Have you ever felt lonely? I’m not talking about the lonely that happens when all of your friends go away for Labor Day weekend or take vacations frequently and you’re at home thinking, Man. I miss everyone. Guess I’ll just rent a movie and stay in tonight. No – I’m referring to the type of lonely you experience when something goes awry in your life and the only solace you have is praying to God to get you through. The type of lonely where you wish someonewould just call you, email you, or even text you and ask how you are doing or if you would like to get together. If you don’t receive any of those from anyone you feel a deep sadness and possibly experience depression because you are deep down – lonely. In the spirit of easy-reading articles go, instead of giving you my experiences in loneliness so you can relate and feel sad for me, I plan on taking a route of listing out some helpful ways to fight loneliness. And no, I’m not going to quote the Wilco song. #1 – Go volunteer somewhere. Every town has somewhere you can volunteer whether it’s a soup kitchen, the American Red Cross, or even your local church – find somewhere you can volunteer your time and give back. You’ll find that your loneliness will take a backseat when you’re hearing and seeing other people’s stories where you can play a part in helping out. #2 – Get back in shape. This is a no-brainer for most people, but for some of us working out is not as much fun as the fitness gurus try and convince us that it is. But in the spirit of fighting loneliness, I’ve found that one of the most therapeutic things you can do is join a local gym, go running around your neighborhood, or rent/buy some workout videos and get back into shape. #3 – Get out of the house. I know it sounds contradictory to the last one, especially if you do decide to work out at home, but just be smart about your time. If staying inside makes you lonelier, work out during a time when you’ve been outside all day or away from your home and then work out. Go run errands, peruse books and magazines at Barnes and Noble, or even go drive somewhere you haven’t been to before. Just get out! #4 – Take up a new hobby or get back into an old hobby. One of the things I love to do is play basketball. I play every Wednesday at a church where no one is a true “baller,” and I stay until it’s time to go. There are a lot of great factors that helps loneliness. For one, you end up talking to people you don’t know, even if it’s something such as, “Hey – play defense!” Secondly, you’re exercising. And lastly – you’re out of the house. #5 – Go to your local coffee shop and read. Not everyone loves to read, but when you’re experiencing loneliness one of the best ways to fight it is to read at a coffee shop. Most baristas are friendly. You get to people-watch. Finally, your mind can be engaged in a book. It’s a win-win if I’ve ever seen one. #6 – Fill up your calendar with events to do. One of the most frequent things I do when I’m experiencing loneliness is to look up my city’s calendar of events and find out about stuff I can do. Community calendars have a list of concerts and other events that can be a great way to spend your time. If that isn’t your thing you can even plan a trip out of town to see old friends. Doing this will help tremendously in getting over that hump of loneliness that everyone has experienced at one time or another. Also remember that in doing any and all of these suggestions to keep praying over the situations you’re dealing with. Remember, everything happens for a reason. It might be months or years down the road, but one day you’ll understand it and might even be joyful that it happened. If all else fails grow a mustache (if you’re a male), get a tattoo, go buy twenty cheeseburgers and give them out to the homeless, or take up a second job to stay busy. I’ve done two of those things and it proved to take my mind off the loneliness incurred in my life!

By Nolan Ross