Yes, it is true. Sometimes in the summer there is an unexpected wave of loneliness that can punch us in the face. It makes us feel awkward. And a little bit embarrassed. And maybe a little bit scared. Of what will come next.
One could blame SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a type of depression that follows the seasons. It is more common as a "winter depression", but there is also a summer depression (although more rare), and both are related to the changes in the amount of daylight we get.
Possible triggers/ reasons
-Our friends have gone on holidays
-We are moving to a new country/ house
-We are changing jobs
-We are going through a transformative change in our life
-We are desperately looking for a change
-We are simply exhausted from the busy winter period
Why is it so confusing
Whatever the reason, this feeling of loneliness can be quite confusing and demanding. Because we are looking for isolation in order to rest and to put things together and for socializing, both at the same time. Because it pushes us to act, even if we want to stay inactive for a while, or we don't know which way we want to go to.
So, even though the beginning of the summer starts with a nice feeling (since we have the chance to take it down a notch and to recharge our batteries), somewhere at the middle of the holiday period, a feeling of loneliness secretly crawls up us and terrifies us with negative thoughts. We miss our colleagues and our work routine (surprisingly enough!), we see photos of our friends with their other friends and wish we were them, we even see ourselves as friend-less, we feel our energy level falling more and more every day , and the feeling of isolation and loneliness becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that brings even more isolation, loneliness, shame and pain.
What can we do
- First of all, let's accept the change. Enjoy the fact that our daily pace has become slower and there's going to be more time for everything. Even time for self-reflection (yes, that thing which we have been avoiding for months now..) and let's get ready for that.
- Think alternatively. If all our friends are gone, we can find other social networks to hang out with, ones we have never connected so far. Loneliness is not about having friends or not. It is about the connection we feel with the people around us. And that kind of connection we can find even when talking to a stranger when standing in a queue. Let's open up to new people. Let's not be afraid to reach out. Let's be ourselves around them.
- Add quality to your relationships. Don't just hang out with people that you have no common interests or common values. Find people that you connect somehow and you can easily have a conversation that doesn't feel like forcing it, but more like flowing smoothly.
- Make a bucket list. All those hobbies and unfulfilled desires we have never had time for, now is the time for us to chase them. Let's keep ourselves busy, but with activities that please US and remind us of how much we can enjoy life and not just survive it.
- Embrace loneliness. Yes, we feel lonely and there's nothing wrong with that. We don't need to be ashamed of the fact that we have lost our connection with our friends and our environment. It's only temporary and we can make something really good and rewarding out of it. And the first thing we need to do it to stop judging ourselves and setting high standards. We are who we are and first and foremost we should be kind to ourselves. So let's do it:
- Let's do things only for ourselves. Not because someone else likes them.
- Let's satisfy our senses: experiment with new dishes, listen to new kinds of music, go to new places.
- Let's go for solo travelling: trust me, you are going to learn a lot about yourself, and in the end love him for those.
- Let's write that story that we've been thinking about for ages, or start a blog (or a vlog or a photo blog).
- Let's sign up for an e-learning course.
- Let's spend time in nature.
- Let's do art: painting, knitting, sculpting, photography, and let's express ourselves.
- Let's treat ourselves to a photoshoot. We will be reminded of how beautiful we are from the outside as well as from within.
"But how can all of the above mentioned make me feel less lonely?", you may ask.
Loneliness is first and foremost due to losing the connection with ourselves.
It's a sign that we are in desperate need of ourselves.
It's us that we have stopped being our own best friend.
We are lonely with ourselves, and that makes us feel lonely among the others.
Therefore, being kind to yourself and spending time with yourself, enjoying time with yourself and only yourself, will help you to gradually erase this fundamental feeling of isolation that you feel within.
And when you need nobody else's company other than your own in order to feel good, the whole world will become your friend.
Counselor - Owner of The Anti-Loneliness Project
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