When you’re feeling lonely, you feel empty, giving no attention to anything. You rather sleep all day than move an inch from the mattress.
“What should I do? I wanna get out of this agony!” You may have screamed that out loud many times in your life. Perhaps, you finally reach the point where you need to do something. But you don’t know how to escape this invisible burden.
If this is your situation right now, here are the things I suggest you try doing. Some of them I have also done for myself for quite a few years, and they have been effective for me. So, you might want to check them out for yourself and give any of these suggestions a try.
Table of Contents
Little-Known Things To Do Alone When You’re Feeling Lonely
- 1. Buy an adult coloring book and coloring pens.
- 2. Try yoga.
- 3. Try sketching.
- 4. Explore and visit new places.
- 5. Meet friends.
- 6. Take photos.
- 7. Adopt a cute pet.
- 8. Try volunteering.
- 9. Read a book.
- 10. Have a virtual friend.
- 11. Watch movies.
- 12. Take a nice shower.
- 13. Try dancing.
- 14. Take a walk.
- 15. Have coffee at a nearby coffee shop.
- 16. Clean your house.
- 17. …and do bed-making.
- 18. Reminisce through old photos.
- 19. Learn something new.
- 20. Write a journal.
- 21. Record yourself & upload your video on YouTube.
- 22. Go to a karaoke room and sing your hearts out.
- 23. Watch inspiring videos.
- 24. Listen to inspiring podcasts.
- 25. Improve your spiritual well-being.
Little-Known Things To Do Alone When You’re Feeling Lonely
Here’s the list of what you can do right away when you’re feeling lonely these days. If you have tried any of these suggestions, let me know your experience in the comment section below.
1. Buy an adult coloring book and coloring pens.
Helen Hamilton from Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina, in her research, she found out in her study that mindful coloring has strong indications of effectiveness in reducing stress and anxiety levels based on how the participants i.e. college students responded to the activity.
Given the amount of time the majority of us spend on the internet, she wrote that more than 75% of the college-aged population suffer from prolonged periods of overstimulation, which causes stress-related outcomes such as depression, anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).
So, to help ourselves cope with the daily grind and hustle, it is necessary to give our minds a break for a few minutes and allow our brains to relax.
“The lack of strong internal resources, such as mastery and self-esteem, and subsequent lack of social support, [impact] the susceptibility of stress in younger populations,” she wrote.
To help you overcome the feeling of loneliness in a fun way, it is necessary to find activities to distract you for a few minutes, such as adult coloring books.
It doesn’t cost that much. The fact is, it only costs a few bucks, and you already have it. But if you want to have a personalized and unique feel, I can make a handmade journal for you. That is if you visit my Etsy shop and send me a message there to discuss the elements you want to have.
But when you start stroking colors on each page, you wouldn’t notice the time running fast. If you’re listening to your favorite Spotify playlist, that’d be a great pastime.
2. Try yoga.
Yoga is another great option for meditation, which has been existing for 5,000 years as an Indian body of knowledge. Many people attest yoga helps alleviate the effects of stress and even depression, including the researchers from India, who confirmed its positive impacts during the COVID-19 crisis.
Narrotam Kumar and Dr. Udham Singh, a research scholar and assistant professor at Gurukula Kangri in India respectively, mentioned in their recent research study that yoga helps in altering the autonomic nervous system, helping you improve your state of well-being.
“Yoga is [a] well-known mind-body practice which touches [a] deeper layer of mind that [purifies] thoughts and emotions, [leading to] the person to achieve mental health,” they mentioned.
3. Try sketching.
I’ve done this a few times before. I usually draw the sea not because it’s easier for me to draw the horizon; but rather because I’ve always been fascinated with the wide seas since I was young. As time went by, the amount of time I spent drawing has slowly been decreasing, unfortunately.
When I tried to sketch again (after years of not doing it), I found it relaxing as if time could pass by so fast. Sketching for me is a form of meditation. It allows me to step away from writing and pause from thinking too much at least for a few minutes.
Well, that was the plan but I ended up sitting down for hours working on the art I never thought I could produce. Here’s what I ended up creating using the most basic materials I could use on it. Click here to view the image.
Interestingly, I found this video on YouTube entitled “How a Sketchbook Can Change Your Life.” In his video, he also discussed how sketching has benefited him positively, which also surprised him. The fact is, he never sketched that much in his life until he discovered its optimal mental health benefits. Click here to watch the video.
Whether you can draw or not doesn’t matter. What matters here is your ability to convey something, a message or an idea, in its visual form. You can start illustrating crazy stuff stuck in your head, regardless of the art you produce or art materials you use.
4. Explore and visit new places.
Staying curious is what makes your life interesting. What I find surreal is the unpredictability of events that come with it.
Instead of allowing anxiety to overpower our innate power to decide what we want to do that makes us happy, we rather acknowledge it and welcome the emotional rollercoaster ride that comes with it.
“Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”
Golda Meir, Former Prime Minister of Israel (1969-1974)
When I was in Manila in 2014, it was my first time being far away from my family and stepping into the lands of the unknown. I wasn’t familiar with the place.
However, the feeling of roaming around new places was great. It was worth an experience. While being there, I was able to go to neighboring places like Quezon City and Taguig City and saw the different personalities of Manila at least for a short time while I was there.
The point is acquiring new experiences gives you more opportunities to move forward. If you’re feeling lonely these days, being able to explore and visit new places is also a great activity to do even when you’re alone.
5. Meet friends.
Recently, I met my only close friend for long years and counting last Sunday. We’ve met for the first time in 2005 as high school classmates. We started the friendship by going home together and sharing similar interests like writing and books.
Years passed, and we already have different lives. Although we’ve met again and become co-teachers for a year, we chose different paths in life. She became a doctor and I became a writer. We don’t meet most of the time because we’re busy doing our stuff. She’s a medical intern and I’m building my own company (heck, yeah!).
Though we didn’t talk for a day or so as it was only around for three hours, it was an experience worth remembering. You know, like recalling the moments we had before and exchanging new information with each other after a year!
So, what I can suggest you do is try reaching out to people whom you’ve never contacted for years. It’s an absurd idea at first but it will turn out beneficial for you in the end just as I did with a long-time friend.
6. Take photos.
If you haven’t tried photography before, it shouldn’t stop you from appreciating what you have and where you live. Grab your camera and roam around your location and start taking photos of objects, scenes, or memorable little events that catch your eye.
You will feel accomplished whenever you do this because taking photos has proven to have therapeutic benefits according to Catherine A. Buchan, author of the article published in Wiley Online Library 2 years ago.
In Buchan’s research, she found out that this activity helps in bringing out a sense of empowerment and increased self-knowledge, as well as other themes that were identified, such as:
- Mental processing
- Enhanced therapeutic relationships
- Peer support
- Creative expression
- Sense of achievement and enjoyment
7. Adopt a cute pet.
Who wouldn’t want to own a cute, adorable, and lovely little pet to cuddle every single day?
Though at times, you feel a hassle but seeing them greeting you whenever you arrive and listening to your rants, they deserve to be treated with respect and love.
A group of researchers has also suggested in their study the same thing in the medical field. Their discovery has proven the major role of pets in self-management, helping people overcome their mental health conditions.
“Pets should be considered a main rather than a marginal source of support in the management of long-term mental health problems, and this has implications for the planning and delivery of mental health services,” they mentioned.
Additionally, they also found out that “pets constituted a valuable source of illness work in managing feelings through distraction from symptoms and upsetting experiences, and provided a form of encouragement for activity.”
8. Try volunteering.
Volunteering is also a great activity to add to your bucket list when you’re feeling lonely. This social activity is proven to have a positive impact on a person’s mental health based on a research study conducted by Jie Yang and Christina Matz.
Their findings showed the correlation between the person’s ability to overcome the feeling of social isolation and a deprived sense of purpose through volunteering. Being able to help others makes you feel better than doing things for personal gains and perceived social status. It gives you purpose, thus, helping you find the right path toward recovery.
I’ve done quite a lot of volunteering in the past. It might cause you a lot of stress, especially if it was too much to handle. But seeing the smile on their faces after you share something you have, feels great. Try it at least once and you’ll understand what I’m trying to say.
9. Read a book.
According to a recent research study, there has been a shift in people’s reading habits during the COVID-19 confinement. They found out that, though online sales skyrocketed within the same period, the majority of people struggled to find ways to keep their reading habits due to having only lower emotional scores, regardless of the genres they prefer reading.
Sarah Bryer agreed with the same thought that she expressed in her article. “Spending as little as 30 minutes a week would make you 20% more likely to report greater life satisfaction than those who do not read at all,” she wrote.
She also added that readers reported only having “21% less likely to report feelings of depression” and “10% more likely to report good self-esteem than non-readers.”
I love doing this every morning when I wake up. I usually download sample books from Amazon Kindle and read the pages from amazing authors of mental health-related books.
I read books like “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, “The Unlimited Self” by Jonathan Heston, “Get Over Your Damn Self” by Romi Neustadt, “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown, and Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins to name a few.
How about you? Do you also read books? What books have you read lately?
10. Have a virtual friend.
F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that “the loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” While this is happening to you, it is better to have someone to lean on even though that person lives from the other side of the world, thousands of miles apart from you.
Because you’re feeling lonely, you can search for sites where you can start making online friendships and share about the loneliness you feel. The more you talk about it, the more you are allowing yourself to let it go away from your body. You are unconsciously releasing that emotional baggage that has been weighing you down.
In my article, published on PsychReg, one of the top mental health blogs in the UK, I mentioned how expressive writing positively impacts one’s life. An article was published back in 1997 in which James W. Pennebaker, a psychologist, conducted a research study about the correlation between expressive writing and people’s mental well-being.
Nowadays, people have never been writing this much as we did in the last century ago. Given the easy access to mobile apps, the internet, and social media, we share our thoughts and experiences with the world by writing them as posts and/or tweets.
11. Watch movies.
To explain my point, I would like to share with you a famous quote from one of the highly respected American artists, Andy Warhol, who was also a famous film director and producer.
He said that “People sometimes say that the way things happen in the movies is unreal, but actually it’s the way things happen to you in life that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it’s like watching television – you don’t feel anything.”
Even when you’re alone, it is necessary to find time to spend on leisure activities, such as watching movies on Netflix. A group of researchers in Japan found the significance of having alternative ways to be engaged in our favorite hobbies. This was proven true when they conducted a study among the participants during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This life-changing event was unpredicted and has drastically changed our lives. Our plans have changed and so does the people’s views about life and the world. The mental distress we have all experienced from losing loved ones to an unknown illness, losing our jobs, our homes, and everything we have worked hard for was gone.
Despite all that, we’re still here and we remain alive. We survived the pandemic, which marks the beginning of a new chapter of our lives. We are now flipping the once-blank page, now filled with our life’s stories, to the next one to start writing a new story to fill the new page.
12. Take a nice shower.
Published only a few months ago, a recent research study done by Eko Arianto of Universitas Sanata Dharma in Indonesia tried to demonstrate the effectiveness of shower therapy in improving one’s mental health.
Although the relationship between variables has not been extensively discussed, it has not deterred the study’s potential when it comes to attracting people to consider it. Interestingly, in Arianto’s study, the results were promising despite its limitations.
Unlike the showers you see on the market, this device is intended for therapy. According to the study, the shower head will move up and down as many times as possible, depending on the adjustments done on the control panel.
In addition to the customization done, specifically for this purpose, you can also adjust the heat temperature within the amount of time, helping you achieve optimal relaxation while you are taking your shower.
“The results of the prototype test show that a series of shower therapy can be employed in both sitting and standing positions. The water temperature of 40 to 60 degrees Celsius was achieved in 30 minutes of the heating process which indicates that the developed tool needs improvement in future research, to attain a shorter healing time and a more accurate shower head movement speed,” Arianto mentioned.
13. Try dancing.
When you’re feeling lonely for a long time will likely lead you to an increased rate of depression, anxiety, and in the worst case, suicide. The fact is, according to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), loneliness contributes to nearly 4 times the increased risk of death among those Americans with heart diseases aged 65 years and older.
To combat the feeling of loneliness in modern times effectively and positively, another way is to try dancing. Not only does it lead you to get active, but it also opens opportunities to improve your social skills and engage with others with the same interest i.e. dancing.
Dance naked or b-boy though you don’t know how to somersault. Either way, you’ll feel great after doing something crazy once in a while. While I was alone a few years ago, I tried dancing naked and it was insanely liberating. *laughs*
14. Take a walk.
Having a walk doesn’t need to be about getting fit or walking with the dog. While it is a low-impact exercise, spending at least 30 minutes is already great. As Mayo Clinic wrote, “Physical activity doesn’t need to be complicated. Something as simple as a daily brisk can help you live a healthier life.”
This is helpful for people like me who don’t like to go to the gym and move around a lot. Whilst being a writer, I spend more time sitting in front of my desk and writing the whole day. Therefore, I must spare a few minutes to step back and refresh my mind by walking outside.
Even though it doesn’t require long hours of time, even though it doesn’t involve high-impact cardio exercises, I don’t have to force myself to love them just to keep my mental health okay.
So, if you feel like going outside and having a break for a short time, don’t hesitate to grab your shoes and take a walk. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings, including the mundane.
15. Have coffee at a nearby coffee shop.
Lindsay Van Thoen of Freelancers Union described the experience of working in the coffee shop as “[a place where] your mind is literally wired to turn off repeat input and only focus on new information.”
Is it true for you, too?
Her definition of a coffee-shop-work is clear. When you feel lonely while working at home, especially for freelancers like us, it’s best to sit in a coffee shop for a bit and observe the coziness of the space, seeing people going in and out, tickling our eardrums with the sounds of the chimes.
16. Clean your house.
In an attempt to prove how decluttering improves self-esteem, Yasuko Aso from Tsukuba International University in Ibaraki, Japan found out in his research that the act of cleaning has not only improved the Japanese homes but also the overall well-being of the person. Thus, the need for an organized education for this purpose is found necessary for today’s generation.
This particular behavior was observed among individuals aged 12 to 54 who have undergone intervention measures with the help of a professional organizer. During the process, they attended 4 weekly workshop sessions for 2 and a half hours each to learn the value of prioritization.
At the end of the experiment, Aso was caught off-guard by how these individuals have responded to decluttering and how their minds have changed about it. He shared a few of those lines in his study like the following:
- “I discovered how to declutter and organize my living space in a way that suited me.”
- “My friends and I encouraged each other.”
- “I gained confidence by achieving small successes.”
If you are living in an apartment, you’re not exempted. Same with a cabin, you are, too.
So, if you’re feeling lonely these days and nobody’s there to be with you for whatever reasons, why not start organizing your stuff at home.
Grab a vacuum and clear off dust sitting around the corners. Change the throw pillow cases to new ones, and so on. Then, end your cleaning by placing a scented candle, aromatic incense, or an aromatic diffuser in your living room or your bedroom. Wherever you want.
17. …and do bed-making.
In addition to your household chore, why not change your bed sheets and clean your bedroom. Change your pillowcases, blankets, etc. According to Spruce, you only don’t beautify your room but it induces a “good spirit” throughout the day.
You can start your day right every single day if you do bed-making an everyday habit. It also helps you improve your life since it alleviates stress, the major cause of depression if left untreated.
18. Reminisce through old photos.
I don’t do this as much as other people do, however, it is great to recall the past once in a while. You can scan through the old photos of your family. It’d take a while before you could overcome these. But once you already did, you could finally do this.
However, for those who have a terrible childhood as I did, it’d be hard. Swear. Whenever I open the photo album, I easily remember how pressured, unhappy, and lonely I was as a child. Now while I look back, those photos captured those moments that shaped me into who I am today.
It is why I am inviting you to do the same. Your past may have been too painful to relive. But facing it with your heads up and self-confidence, you will start feeling great about yourself again and realizing how strong of a person you are. Despite everything, you have survived the most traumatic events that are unimaginable for everyone.
19. Learn something new.
It’s time to make your life extra special – only if you open yourself to new stuff. Learning something different from what you’re used to or mastered from your field of expertise, as I mentioned before, gives you opportunities to stay curious. And staying curious allows you to keep moving forward.
For example, I graduated with an Education course. So, teaching was my obvious option. After teaching full-time for a year, however, I left the job and took a new path. Although I have never been on a flight before and I have never been away from home for that long, I took the risk and enrolled in a German class, which was an hour’s flight away from my hometown, for two months.
In the same year, I took another risk by scouring the internet to find a way to monetize my writing skills. At least, I could make money at home, so my parents wouldn’t have to tell me I was slacking off and that I should get another teaching job that I disliked.
Although it wasn’t an easy feat until now, I have never regretted the decision to quit my teaching job. I know that I have disappointed a lot of people with my choices, and letting go of aspiring to become somebody I’m not as others have imagined for me to achieve was the best decision I have made for myself.
The point is, never limit yourself within the boundaries of what you know. Try to explore other hobbies or activities you haven’t tried before. You’ll never know what new possibilities have been waiting for you to discover.
20. Write a journal.
Like doing yoga, writing journal entries every single day also serves as a form of meditation. You can do a lot of activities in each entry. You can self-reflect on your yesterdays and recreate your future through words.
Thai Nguyen of HuffPost wrote a list of benefits any person could benefit from when writing a journal. According to his post, journal writing can be a great way to heal. That is if you are open to it or at least allowing yourself to be vulnerable for half an hour or so.
If you don’t have an idea where to start, try using my “Letters For Your Soul” Self-Reflection Journal which can cover a whole year of entries.
21. Record yourself & upload your video on YouTube.
I know how awkward it is to talk in front of the camera alone for I don’t know how long. If you are filming a YouTube video, you would probably spend hours filming the entire episode and a few more hours for the video editing.
If you’re like most people, I understand that recording yourself in front of the camera isn’t everyone’s cup of team. But if you’re feeling lonely, it is another way to help you overcome that loneliness. Try building an online community where you can find people of the same interests and share the same passion with them.
The internet doesn’t only have a bunch of fake news and negativity. Learn how to take advantage of this technology as positively as possible by reaching out to people and talking about what you like, your thoughts, and your aspirations with like-minded people. Make use of this tool to explore, meet new people, and inspire them with your life’s story.
Like many famous YouTube personalities, they started the process of building a massive online community from a small group of people with shared interests. The key here is being able to relay that message to them with clarity and consistency.
The more you upload videos and talk about things you’re passionate about with authenticity, the more people will be drawn to your uploads and follow your updates. This process will continue and eventually, your followers increase and so does your online community.
22. Go to a karaoke room and sing your hearts out.
Research conducted in 2017 tried to find evidence of singing as a transformative activity for mental health. Clift and his team of researchers found out that singing can help people endure mental distress.
Based on their observations among respondents, there has been a significant shift in their scores when singing was injected as an intervention measure. With that said, it is worth noting that singing, indeed, can help you distract yourself from everything that has been to you lately.
Regardless of whether you can sing or not, what matters more is how you feel after doing it. To turn singing from a simple past–time into a transformative activity, it has to make you feel great.
23. Watch inspiring videos.
Earlier, I mentioned finding time to explore more about your interests and stay curious to keep yourself moving forward, right? Aside from dancing and singing, you can also watch inspiring videos for free using the internet.
As I said, the internet isn’t only full of fake news but you can also find great content, such as TEDx Talks, for instance. I love watching TEDx talks. Swear. These kinds of videos keep inspiring, driving me down to my toenails. If not, I watch short films on YouTube.
The point is to indulge yourself in these kinds of videos. Give it a try and see it yourself.
24. Listen to inspiring podcasts.
If you aren’t into videos or if you want to listen to something motivating while walking, either way listening to an inspiring podcast is your best option. You can search through iTunes, SoundCloud, and Spotify, and you can find lots of them, such as this podcast recorded via Player FM.
25. Improve your spiritual well-being.
There’s nothing more to beat than praying is your way to beat loneliness. Regardless of your religion or personal religious beliefs, your understanding of spirituality and drawing the line between your acquired religious beliefs and your own will remain your most powerful weapons to fight the negating effects of feeling lonely.
Interestingly, The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry published a journal in 2009 that discussed the “other side of religion” became a more attractive route for psychological and social resources to cope with today’s distress.
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