Feeling lonely sucks! If you’re reading this you’ve likely experienced the pain of feeling lonely or isolated at some point in your life. Social connection is imperative for humans. It improves our mental well-being and our physical health. Studies have even shown that a lack of social connection can be more detrimental to your health than smoking or obesity!

The holiday season is a time when you can feel even more disconnected and lonely and with COVID here, you might be feeling like a boxer staggering in the ring and watching that haymaker coming at your head! Sadly, constantly hearing the phrase social distancing instead of physical distancing has become a self-fulfilling prophecy and people are hurting at an alarming rate since self-quarantine started in March of 2020 as we’ve backed away from the world.

Well, today is all about answers. We’re going to dive into the stigma of loneliness, the difference between being alone and being lonely, and my top three ways to deal with loneliness and isolation during the COVID holidays and beyond!

The Numbers

Disconnection has been on the rise for a while here in the U.S. with at least one out of four Americans reporting a feeling of loneliness and isolation, and the rest of the world isn’t fairing much better.

Three Core Issues with Loneliness

1. There’s a Stigma People don’t often like to admit that they’re lonely because there’s a stigma attached.

2. How Can You Be Lonely? We’ve all felt lonely in a room full of people.If you don’t feel accepted, heard or understood, you can feel even lonelier surrounded by others than you would if you were alone.

3. Are You Sure that’s Loneliness? Loneliness can show up in a variety of ways: fatigue, anxiety, depression, anger or irritability. Yes, there might be other underlying mental health issues, but loneliness might be the cause or at least a contributing factor that’s being overlooked.

Loneliness vs Being Alone

Loneliness has very little to do with how many people are around you because loneliness is subjective. Yup. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, well, so is loneliness.

When I say how you think about your relationships I’m talking about your beliefs – what you believe is a “fact” or normal.

How you feel in your relationships is the other factor in loneliness. Do you feel connected, understood and accepted? Do you feel heard and loved? These are the big questions.

Three Ways to Deal with Loneliness and Isolation During the COVID Holidays and Beyond

Tip #1: Get Down with Your Bad Self

You can’t have a great relationship with anyone else until you have a great one with yourself first.

I want you to try new things (virtually right now) with the idea that you want to get to know yourself better and become a stronger person.

To that end, I’ve got some love to throw your way to get started:

  • You could take my free Optimism Jumpstart Course
  • Take the personal strength finders quiz from the VIA Institute on Character
  • Scroll down to get my Family Crest Values exercise
  • Go online and join a meditation or yoga group (I love Yoga with Adrienne by the way!)
  • Sign up for Babbel and learn a new language
  • Focus on what you do want, not what you don’t want. This is tricky for many. You can’t focus on it in a grasping, fear-based way because that will push it further away. Instead, focus on it in a love-based, fulfilled way.
  • Go all in on learning self-compassion. A lack of self-compassion is associated with feelings of loneliness so learning how to truly be self-compassionate isn’t just a cool thing to do, treat it like a prescription.

Tip #2: Focus on Generosity and Service

Generosity and acts of service create connection and that helps ease loneliness.

Tip #3: Practice the Skills to be a Connection Ninja

Connecting with others is a skill. With all the “forced” physical distancing, you’ve got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to step back, take stock and work on some things to make your life better.

I’ve created a YouTube playlist called “Be a Connection Boss,” which you can learn from right now! This is a group of short videos to learn the different components of how to connect with other people easier than you might think. I break down the skills; things like good communication, how to listen, and how to give feedback which will help you deepen your connection to the people around you. And it’s totally free just because I love you that much!

Resources and Links:

Pandemic Burnout: How to Stay Calm and Focused

4 Ways to Be More Self-Aware

The Secret to Positive Thinking in All Your Relationships

Maxwell Maltz, Psycho-Cybernetics

Optimism Jumpstart Workshop

Personal Strength Finders Quiz

Finally Stop Negative Thinking

How to Set Intention in 18 Seconds (aka The 18-Second Shift)

The Simple Hack to Stop Your Negative Thoughts All Day

 

Enter your name and email below to get the Family Crest Values exercise so you can start to build your self-awareness.

 Ready to find out what goes on inside that crazy mind of Abby’s? 

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