The way to ultimately cope with and alleviate loneliness is to find purpose and connection.
Here are some tips on how to cope with and alleviate loneliness with purpose and connection:
1. Serve others. People who volunteer report feeling more connection and purpose. If you’re local to UT, call 211 for volunteer ideas. You can also look up justserve.org for service project opportunities. Many retirement homes would love volunteers to help patients with playing games. When my son was in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Primary Children’s Hospital there were volunteers who would hold my baby while I wasn’t there. The Salvation Army has opportunities for people to bring Thanksgiving meals to their homes.
2. Look up! Make eye contact and walk interactively. Nowadays, people are so glued to their devices they don’t look up. You’ve heard of stop and smell the roses. Or rather, admire the fall leaves during this time of year. Say hello and make eye contact when walking past people if you’re in the park. Tell them how cute their dog is. Say hello to the workers at the grocery store and ask how their day is going. When sitting in a waiting room, make eye contact and smile when people come into the room. Looking up makes you more approachable rather than closed off.
3. Get involved in a new hobby. If there is something you’ve always wanted to learn or try, do it! It’s a great way to connect with people who have the same interest as you. It could be a yoga class, water color painting, running races, culinary arts, or cake decorating. I’ll tell you my cake story later.
What has helped you? Would love to hear your ideas. Thanks and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Heather Severn Callister, LMFT