Feeling lonely is a normal part of life—in fact, loneliness is one of the biggest public health issues in the world—and yet it’s not often spoken about. We all get lonely, but we’re not particularly well conditioned to deal with those feelings when they inevitably creep up. However, it’s important to do so because there are tangible ways to help mitigate the negative effects loneliness can have on our physical and mental well-being.
Because I feel so strongly about this topic, I dedicated an entire chapter of my book to explaining how you can develop a loneliness game plan that will help you stay on track and reach your health and wellness goals. It started as an experiment to help me deal with my own loneliness in my early twenties, and it was so effective, I ended up using it years later with my coaching clients to help them avoid slipping into unhealthy habits triggered by loneliness.
We all have different loneliness triggers and unsurprisingly, we also have different coping mechanisms – both unhealthy and healthy. Perhaps you turn to shopping, mindless eating or spending hours binge-watching a tv show when you’re feeling lonely; or when you feel the lonely feeling set in, you find yourself decluttering and cleaning your home, exercising or dedicating your time to creating art.
No matter how you deal with loneliness, developing a loneliness game plan will help you learn to cope with and address your feelings. While I go into detail about this in my book and in this video, here are a few key aspects of having and implementing a loneliness game plan:
- Know what your triggers and tendencies are. Acknowledging both of these things is a great way to begin tackling the feeling.
- Make a list of things you can do when you feel lonely. Keep in mind though that these should be things you genuinely want to do—think restorative actions—not just ones you feel like you should do. Some suggestions I’ve shared with my clients include running errands, going for a walk, connecting with friends, reading and writing. Really, though, it can be anything that works for you.
- Remember to be kind to yourself.
Though it can sometimes be hard to acknowledge loneliness, it’s important to do so. I hope that creating a loneliness game plan will be the first step in helping you take constructive action when this common feeling sets in.
If you’re curious to learn more about the loneliness game plan and other useful and approachable ways to stay on track with your healthy living goals, my book, The Little Book Of Game Changers: 50 Healthy Habits For Managing Stress & Anxiety is packed with some of my favorite little life hacks that have helped my clients reach their goals and maintain their results! You can snag your copy on Amazon.