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Loneliness is an epidemic, and in the progressive era of the pervasive and exclusive social media age, it isn’t difficult to see why.
When was the last time you recall going out to a social gathering without your phone or device? The truth may be difficult to swallow, but it’s a truth we cannot sugarcoat nonetheless. We carry around this new sense of isolation just as we carry around the electronic bricks in our pockets.
Lately, I too have felt discomfort in simply being in my own presence. There’s an itch to do something, to post something online, to get out and live an Instagrammable life. As social creatures, we humans have an innate desire to share everything. To post everything online in hopes for validation within. To know that the life we live beyond the screen is worthy of sharing.
What's the effect of this? The Guardian Australia released an article earlier this year detailing that “27.6% of people say they feel lonely at least three days a week.”
You may be thinking that sure, we all get the blues sometimes… but just when does this progress to be dangerous to our mental health? Let’s talk about how to manage it. Here's how to kick loneliness to the curb and start feeling comfortable and content in the wonderful simplicity of being in your own presence.
Firstly, find the root. Asking yourself why you feel a certain way really can help to determine the underlying cause of your loneliness and how to deal with it. Once you come to understand why you’re feeling the way you do, acknowledge it. Then, help yourself out with some of these suggestions.
Go for a walk or do something you love. Get some fresh air and exercise. Clear your mind or listen to an enthralling podcast to get your mind off things.
Make your favourite healthy meal. Whether it's a refreshing pesto pasta salad or a hearty wholesome lentil soup, nourish your body to feel good.
Go out and visit someone or call an old friend. Get your mind off things by calling an old friend, a relative or simply walking down to the coffee shop and chatting with the barista.
Read your favourite book or watch an old-timey movie. Unwind by reading a good book or binging a movie that gives you the giggles.
Play with an animal. Whilst I’m not suggesting you strike up an encounter with any rabid wild animals, offering to play with your neighbour’s dog might just be the trick to help you feel more upbeat.
Talk to someone about how you feel. Tell something how you’re feeling and figure out how to work through it from there.
Unplug and unwind. Ditch technology! Say goodbye to wi-fi for a few hours! I promise you won’t be stooping to Tom Hanks level in Cast Away...
And finally… Come to understand that being alone is good. We need time to recharge and refuel our brains alone, unwind and boost creativity and productivity. It even helps to strengthen our relationships with others and ourselves.
This loneliness epidemic isn’t solvable overnight. We need to learn how to connect with others and ourselves again. My final advice? Unplug. Recharge. And loosen your shoulders, take a deep breath, and straighten your back, because really, you aren’t alone.