The imposed quarantines and social distancing during this pandemic are definitely testing our emotional limits. Staying home and having limited social contact takes the reality of loneliness to an entirely different level. And if you’re in the process of divorce or separation, you will be challenged even further.
Anyone going through divorce knows that loneliness often starts before you separate from your spouse. The time leading up to separation confirms why you’re not meant to be together and the continuous disconnect makes you feel alone. As the divorce process continues, the feelings of loneliness can become even greater.
Being alone after divorce is a huge fear for people. This is a big life event that impacts everything, and the associated loss and grief magnify the loneliness – which is what everyone wants to avoid. People will do whatever they can to prevent the feelings of isolation and emptiness that often result from being alone, which is why they stay too long in unhappy marriages or get into relationships that aren’t healthy.
Loneliness is different from being alone. You can be alone but not actually feel lonely. It helps to know there’s nothing wrong with you and that it’s okay to be alone! Learn how to foster the connection to yourself and enjoy your own company. Honor how you’re feeling and what you’re experiencing in the moment. Keep in mind this feeling won’t last forever. And realize that having kids, family and friends in your life guarantees that you’re not alone.
Loneliness is a state of mind. You can either get lost in this state of mind or process and overcome it. When we feel lonely, we typically engage in distorted thinking. We think that the grass is greener on the other side. We have a way of romanticizing other people’s lives. These judgments only serve to make us unhappy.
You can choose what to think. When the destructive lonely thoughts emerge, you can refuse to accept them! Don’t slip into the drama of your story. Refocus your thoughts to a more supportive message. Change your perspective and choose empowerment rather than the victim mentality.
Practicing good habits and behaviors will help you face loneliness. Remember, your habits define your life – you are what you practice every day.
Here are 15 Tips to Help You Overcome Loneliness:
- Practice Acceptance. The key to getting through loneliness is to accept that it’s a natural part of life.Being alone is just that – it’s being alone. And it’s okay to feel lonely when the spouse you shared your life with isn’t a daily part of it any more. Accept the truth about what happened and acknowledge your emotions as they come up. To get past the loneliness, you have to first feel it so you can begin to explore what it means to you.
- Learn to Be Alone in Your House. Take a relaxing bath, watch a movie, listen to music, read a good book in complete silence, cook for yourself, meditate, clean out a closet, garden, write in a journal, read the newspaper, call a friend or family member, clean out your wardrobe. The list is endless!
- Get Physically Active. Go for a walk or engage in another form of movement, like an online dance or yoga class, which is healthy for your body and your mind. When you participate with other people, you are not alone.
- Find a Hobby or Further an Existing One. Engaging in something you love can help you feel fulfilled and happy. Rekindle a favorite hobby or try something new. Feeling passionate and excited will replace uncomfortable feelings, and you’ll connect with new people, too.
- Volunteer. You can do this on your own or with a group. Either way, making a contribution will help you feel more connected and good about yourself.
- Do Your Job Better. You don’t have to be a workaholic, but there’s nothing wrong with bettering your career at a time like this. Make a little more effort and you might find a renewed love for your work. If not, it may be time to look for a new job.
- Give Yourself Hugs. Try wrapping your arms around your chest, placing your hands just below your shoulder joints and squeezing. Or simply place your hands under your armpits. Continue until you start to feel your breath slowing down and the tension leaving your body – replaced by a sense of being supported and loved.
- Talk It Out. In order to heal from a divorce or separation, it’s important to share your story with someone you trust. This can be a therapist, a coach, a clergy member, a friend or family member. When you talk about your feelings, they release their hold on you.
- Get a Pet. Pets can help you feel connected. Not ready to commit? Visit a pet store or dog park or volunteer at an animal shelter.
- Join a Group. When you share the collective of a group, there’s a power and strength of belief that you can succeed and overcome a challenge. Try out various options – like virtual Meetups, support, business or networking groups – to find what works best for you.
- Get Spiritual. Visit places of worship such as churches, temples and non-denominational centers. If you can’t do this in person right now, research online options.
- Practice Gratitude. Write down three things you are grateful for each day. These can be simply stated or you can dig deeper, depending on how you feel.
- Get Body Work Done. Touch therapy is an excellent way to feel more connected in your body. Many spas and studios are offering virtual massage, acupuncture or Reiki sessions.
- Laughter IS the Best Medicine. Laughter can heal the soul. Seek out ways to laugh. Practicing daily smiles where you squint your eyes from smiling so hard is proven to lift your mood.
- Post Positive Messages in Your Home and Work Space. Stick post-it notes with inspiring sayings where you’ll see them every day, like the refrigerator, your office, bathroom mirror or car. Example: What can I see that’s beautiful right now?
Remember, every day you have a choice as to how you will experience loneliness. When you learn how to be comfortable being alone after divorce, you are given a gift – a big leap in your personal growth. You will feel a renewed sense of confidence, increased self-love and self-worth as well as inner peace.