- Volunteer. Find something that you are interested in and volunteer your services there. Whether it is a food kitchen, nursing home, library, church or school, volunteering can be a wonderful way to help others, make connections, and is a healthy distraction from your own loneliness.
- Get moving. Taking a walk, joining a running or cycling club, going to the Y or gardening gets you out of the house and is good not only for your physical health but also for your emotional well-being.
- Read a good book. Join a book club! Reading can be a gateway to other lands, cultures, and can broaden your understanding. Reading can also be a great way to initiate conversations when you meet someone new as you talk about your newest favorite novel, and asking others about theirs!
- Projects. Painting, organizing, tidying up. I don't know about you, but there are so many things to be done at my house that the list goes on and on. What better time to tackle a project than when you have time on your hands and feeling at a loss of how to spend it?
- Learn something new. Take a class in something you have always been curious about. Or some skill that you wish you had. It doesn't have to cost much money, stores like Lowes and Home Depot have free classes to teach home project skills, sometimes city civic centers have classes with a minimum fee. You can also learn just about anything from Youtube!
- Reach out. Call a friend or family member to talk, or meet for lunch or a walk. Reconnect with someone you haven't seen in a while. Go to a meet-up group. Visit a neighbor. Mentor a young person.
- Get creative. Paint, draw, crochet, write, cook a new dish, play an instrument. As adults, sometimes we get so busy we neglect the creative part of ourselves. Use this time to experiment with a new way to express yourself.
Maybe your most important relationship has ended, or your last child has gone off to college, or maybe you have moved to a new city and have yet to make connections there. You may be feeling a bit lonely. Being alone doesn't always mean feeling lonely- in fact, solitude can mean having a time to reflect, recharge, and renew! But there are times when feeling alone is painful, and you are not quite sure what to do with yourself. When the quiet becomes a bit too much and you are feeling disconnected, try a few of these activities. You may be able to come up with some other ideas, as well.
Debra K Walker, LMFT works with individuals, couples, and families in Hendersonville, TN