Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in people feeling lonely and isolated. The pandemic kept many of us apart from our loved ones, friends, coworkers, and everyone else we interact with regularly. Additionally, our increased social media usage has created a false sense of inadequacy if our online life doesn’t look as good as our peer’s, so it’s no surprise that we’re all feeling lonelier than ever. At a time when many people feel lonely and isolated, Valentine’s Day can really exacerbate these emotions. If you’re not in a romantic partnership, one way to fight feelings of loneliness this time of year is to spend time with friends and family. In this blog, we’re going to talk about how to tackle loneliness and explore the importance of celebrating all of our relationships and prioritizing these connections at Valentine’s Day and all year round.
What Is Loneliness?
We all experience loneliness from time to time. It’s completely natural, but that doesn’t mean it feels great. While loneliness isn’t necessarily a problem in and of itself, feelings of loneliness and isolation have been shown to be connected with increased risk for anxiety, depression, and stress.
What Causes Loneliness?
Loneliness has many sources. We talked about some of the common ones in this introduction to this blog. Being physically isolated from loved ones (as many of us were during the pandemic), comparing ourselves to others on social media, and feeling we’re missing out on something (like a Valentine’s Day date), are all sources of loneliness.
How Do We Address Loneliness?
Loneliness, like all emotions, is not a good or a bad thing. That’s important to remember. Don’t judge your feelings. If you feel lonely, the first thing you need to do is let yourself feel lonely. Our emotions exist to tell us something about what we need. So, when you feel lonely, think about why you’re experiencing this emotion and what it’s trying to tell you. Do you want or need to spend more time with friends and family? Do you want to work toward finding a new romantic partner? Is your loneliness based on your own values and desires or is it about expectations from other people or messaging in the media? Really spend some time considering why you’re experiencing loneliness and what you need to feel better.
Once you’ve spent some time sitting with your loneliness, it’s time to take action. One of the best things you can do to diminish feelings of loneliness is spend time with loved ones and friends. This may be especially true if you’re feeling lonely because you don’t have a romantic partner on Valentine’s Day. Making time to be with your loved ones will remind you that you aren’t alone, even if you feel lonely. It will also help you experience some happier emotions, which can alleviate the pain of feeling lonely. If you can’t be in the same room with your friends or loved ones, make a phone or video call. Just hearing a friendly voice can make a big difference.
Consider Talking with a Therapist
If you just can’t seem to shake feelings of loneliness, it may be time to talk with a professional who can help you explore and manage tough emotions and navigate even the most difficult experiences. At LMV Counseling of Wilmington, our therapists have a range of professional experiences and training, and they are able to offer support as clients work through even the most difficult times. If this sounds like something that could help you, it may be time to schedule a therapy session at LMV Counseling. You can get started any time by using our online session request form.