Dealing with Loneliness during Festivities
Due to the current pandemic many of us either voluntarily or forcefully have been a part of this loneliness. This unpleasant feeling can be intimidating to one’s emotional state of mind.
Posted on 29-Nov-2021
, by Nivedita Pawar, Consultant Counsellor
As we approach the year ending, as students we look forward to this time of the year when festivities means holidays, relaxations, fun and frolic with our friends and family but given the pandemic era things may not be as exciting as it would have been otherwise. Festive seasons are like waves of the ocean - coming and going one after the other, these waves teach us human beings the power of now i.e. being present in the here and now. Alongside festivities comes the feelings of loneliness. We get so attached to the time of celebrations that we struggle to let go of our feelings and emotions of being abandoned or loneliness once the festivities are over.
Due to the current pandemic many of us either voluntarily or forcefully have been a part of this loneliness. This unpleasant feeling can be intimidating to one’s emotional state of mind, particularly when we can't physically see our families or friends. With the increasing use of social media, many of us tend to have a picture in our heads of what the ideal or perfect festive season should be. We expect it to be as perfectly polished as the shiny ornaments that surround us alongside a big happy family at the dinner table. We create a fantasy world of everything as seen with #happyfamily or #besttimewithbesties etc. These expectations make us more emotionally upset than add joy to our lives.
Learning to take pleasure in the little things without attaching too much weight to things you can’t control or that don’t have that much to do with helps in being grounded in the present moment. While it may not completely erase feelings of loneliness, taking special care of yourself can help you to feel better and enjoy your solitude more.
Let us be mindful of our emotions and have a look at 8 practical activities that can help heal through the difficult times:
- Embrace Feeling Lonely - “It’s OK to feel lonely and to experience that emotion. Loneliness is just a feeling and you don’t have to push it away just because it might feel bad. All feelings give us important information. While feeling lonely might not be the greatest experience in the world, being present with it could help you gain more insight into what you are needing at that moment.
- Make Yourself a Priority - Simple things like taking a relaxing bath and putting on clean comfortable clothes, engagenging in new activities or learning something new, doing something for yourself is a form of self-care that is especially important to keep your mind away from the endless wandering thoughts or memories. Practising self-care is a most essential coping mechanism to overcome thoughts or realities of Loneliness.
- Practicing Gratitude Mindfully - Practice daily gratitude by being present in the here and now - look closely on what you feel thankful for, and appreciate the moments you can relish. Embracing all that we have and inviting new things into our lives, irrespective of what that may be will help us feel emotionally lighter. Journaling and writing out your thoughts and feelings is a great way to be present with your emotions, it can help declutter your brain so you can think about how you want to take care of yourself.
- Volunteer - If you’re far away from your loved ones or are feeling disconnected, seek out opportunities to share your time with strangers could be your classmate or your peers or study groups in your college. Volunteering is one of the best things to do when you’re feeling down. It forces you to think outside yourself and shifts the focus on sharing your time with others or being able to acknowledge the feelings of being there for eachother. Think of a cause that matters to you and take some time to be a part of it.
- Connect With Yourself in an Intentional & Mindful Way - This could mean taking a trip or day trip to somewhere new, soaking in the adventure; working on a long standing project; catching up via phone or video with friends and family; or spending time with healing activities such as meditation, journaling, or spa experiences. Fill the time with activities that would bring you joy and calmness and which are outside of your usual routine.
- Make Time to Reflect & Stay Off of Social Media - Social media comparison is one of the most triggering thought holes you could fall into during the festive season. Keep in mind that what you see on social media is only the ‘best and brightest’ version, it is not their total existence. While social media can help to keep people connected, it more often makes you compare your life to others.
- Get Physical & Move Your Body - Go for a walk, join a fitness class, get your hands messy learning pottery. Loneliness, like other feelings, can be held in our bodies. By doing something that releases tension or brings a sense of stillness, we can alleviate some of the physical symptoms of loneliness – low appetite, lack of interest, low energy, just to name a few along with random mood swings and loss of sleep.
- Talk to a Therapist - One way to work through the festive or holiday loneliness is to seek out a therapist. A professional can help you identify unhealthy ways of thinking about the holiday season and behaviors you may be engaging in that do not help you cope or address your loneliness in a meaningful way. You could also reach out to the SWC or Team Bandhu to help share your concerns and worries or just to have an emotional rant to make you feel better.