Spending time alone is pretty high up on my list of favorite things to do. And if I’m being honest, I’m an extrovert person however I can even spend days on end by myself. That’s not the case for everyone, though. I’ve met people who dread the thought of spending even a day by themselves, let alone a few days.
It wasn’t the same few years ago, when I moved to Doha where I didn’t know a soul and living on my own, and over the years I’ve realized that alone time doesn’t have to be lonely.
Let’s be clear, being alone is different than feeling lonely. The feeling of loneliness can arise even if you are not alone, or you can be alone and not feel lonely. It all comes down to the meaning your mind creates at that moment in time. I have learned over the years to truly enjoy my own company and found it rejuvenating—most of the time, however seclusion can trigger some discomfort.
So to stop the mind from creating unnecessary pain from those triggering moments, I’ve found some of the below given effective ways to alleviate the pangs of loneliness that inevitably appear by treasuring the life I have by living in the moment and practicing gratitude.
• Redefine the Word “Alone”
The word alone is not a synonym for loneliness. Spending time solo creates peaceful, reflective downtime in which you can recharge your mind and practice self-care.
• Cultivate Gratitude
By focusing on what I do have, I’ve learned to appreciate how lucky I am. I value relationships now more than ever, because life is short, and we don’t know what tomorrow holds.
• Make a New Four-Legged Friend
Many people, like me, have recently adopted or rescued animals. There’s no better medicine for anguish or feelings of isolation than the love of a pet. Our furry friends give immeasurable amounts of unconditional love and keep us from feeling down. I also volunteer at the local rescue centers and enjoy the mental health benefits of animal companionship.
• Do more of the things that energize you
Learn to enjoy your own company by doing things you love to do, on your own. Go for a walk in parks, read an inspiring book from one of your favorite authors, watch your favorite series or show. Sign up for something you always wanted to do or learn, online or offline, like painting classes, pottery or singing lessons.
• Reach Out
In this new era of physical distancing it’s important to remember that reaching out is important. When you cannot physically embrace your friends and loved ones, you can still talk to them on the phone or participate in group video calls.
Being alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely if you stop judging yourself and let yourself enjoy your solitude.
The most important thing to remember right now is that you are NOT alone. You have people who care about you. These times are unique: we are all experiencing feelings of isolation in one way or another. But we’re all in this together.