Eloisa Jane Mariano is a first-year bachelor of public relations student at Humber College.
Throughout my life, I’ve noticed that I’ve constantly felt lonely. Though some may believe it only happens at night, it also affects me during the day. It hits me when I’m in a group and I realize that no one is actually talking to me. It hits me when someone asks me to take a photo of them with their friends and I realize that I’m not in that category. It hits me that it happens often when the professor assigns group work and I start it right away, knowing that I’ll end up doing it on my own anyway.
It just happens. And it hits hard.
Some may rely on different ways to cope. A common solution would be to see friends and family. This would be great if all my friends didn’t go to different schools and my family wasn’t preoccupied with something else. When people are busy, I don’t want to bother them when I know they have their own problems to worry about. I feel guilty for it, but at the same time, it totally sucks not having anyone to talk to.
So, what do you do when everyone is busy and you’re barely coping?
Well, here’s what I do and hopefully it helps you too.
- Let it out by crying: This is probably the most natural and helpful response you will have to these emotions. Crying literally makes you feel and function better. This article explains the benefits of crying, but seriously, you feel so better after a good cry.
- Take a much-needed nap: Because after you cry, you’ll probably be exhausted from all that effort spent on crying.
- Fall in love (again) with colouring books: Who said colouring books are just for kids? Indigo has a whole section dedicated to colouring books for adults seeking to reduce stress.
- Walk (or dance) it out: When you exercise, a chemical called endorphins are released, making you feel happier. I’m completely out of shape, so my best bet is usually walking or dancing. Whatever exercise you do, make sure you do it at your own pace and try out different exercises to see what works best for you!
- Clean: I know a lot of people don’t like cleaning, but I actually love cleaning to reduce my stress levels. Something simple as cleaning your room can not only make your room look awesome, but it also has a way of making you find things you thought you lost forever.
- Take a field trip: Field trips should never ever stop. I may be a kid at heart, but I still love going on mini trips to tourist attractions. The ROM is free to post-secondary students every Tuesday with a valid student ID card, High Park is free to everyone, and admission to Centre Island is free (with the exception of the $4.75 ferry fare for students under 19 carrying a valid student ID card.)
- Watch a movie: If you own a Netflix account or know someone who is kind enough to let you use their account, watching movies is an underrated joy in life. It’s an escape from reality, but often we take away life advice from these films. Comedies are my absolute favourite kind of movie, but really whatever makes you happy is what you should watch! (Also, if you have a library card, libraries often update their DVD collections so definitely check it out!)
- Have a spa day: Shoppers Drug Mart, PharmaPlus, and Walmart all offer many spa kits for super cheap. My personal favourite go-to place is The Face Shop who offer masks for $2! Even something simple as taking a relaxing bath or painting your nails can leave you feeling so much better about the world outside your washroom. So go ahead and pamper yourself, you deserve it!
- Try a new restaurant: One of my favourite things in the world is probably food because it’s just so darn good and there are so many varieties. There is always something new to try, and that’s why I recommend getting dressed up and taking yourself out to a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. If there is one thing you should splurge a little on, it should be some fancy, totally delicious meal. Taking yourself on a date shouldn’t make you feel lonely, but happy knowing that you value yourself and the time you spend for yourself.
- Remember this rule: Understand that loneliness is a feeling that anyone can experience, at any point in their life. This is a very important, but difficult step. Don’t even think for a second that, that one person on your Facebook with the seemingly perfect life actually has it. They inevitably have felt or possibly are feeling lonely, so really try your best not to tell yourself that you’re the only one who feels this way.
The only person who can affect real change is yourself. Being someone who constantly feels lonely and becomes overwhelmed very easily, I’ve found that doing something for myself, by myself, isn’t as bad as it seems. When we find ourselves alone, we should take that opportunity and turn it into a chance for “me time.” The world takes so much time away from us, that there are barely any chances to rediscover who you are and just relax on your own. Taking the time to care for yourself will improve your perception of life and the quality of it.
These 10 ways have really helped me deal with these emotions and remember that just because I’m feeling lonely right now, it doesn’t mean I’ll be feeling this way forever. Let me know if any of these suggestions work out for you, and if you have your own strategies to combat loneliness!