6 Helpful Tips for Anyone Who’s Feeling Super Lonely Right Now

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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If your besties are miles away (or you’re still trying to find your squad), consider other relationships you’d like to strengthen. Maybe you’ve got an old roommate you’ve been meaning to catch up with, or a newer friend you’d like to get to know better. Once you decide who’s worth reaching out to, be specific about what, exactly, you want to do together—like grabbing coffee, making a dinner reservation, or seeing a certain movie on an upcoming weekend—versus sending a vague “I’d love to see you!”

That way, Dr. Saltz says, you’re less likely to waste time texting back-and-forth about the details of your plans—and, more importantly, your hang is more likely to actually happen.

3. Schedule calls or video chats with your long-distance pals.

Not everyone is going to answer an unexpected call and happily chat for 20 minutes right then and there. A more effective way to check in with the people you can’t see in person is to schedule FaceTime sessions or phone calls, Ginger Villareal Armas, PhD, a New York City–based clinical psychologist at Bryant West Psychology, tells SELF.

“One of the silver linings of the pandemic was becoming more aware of how to connect with our loved ones, even those who are far away,” Dr. Armas says. To make your catch-ups an intentional habit, they suggest setting up recurring calendar invites (every other Thursday at 8 p.m., for instance). And if that approach sounds too rigid, giving even a day’s notice (“Hey, I miss you! Want to catch up on the phone tomorrow?”) can still help you bond with your friends and family—and give you something to look forward to when you’re struggling.

4. Find a way to do the activities you already love in the company of other people.

Doing things that bring you joy—jogging, painting, whatever makes you happy—can help fill the void during your alone time. But if you join a running club, say, or enroll in a weekly art class, you’ll also repeatedly expose yourself to some familiar faces. And who knows: Maybe you’ll even find a new buddy to grab drinks with afterward, because “there’s a mutual interest there to help create a bond,” Dr. Saltz says.

If you’re more of a word nerd, you might find that sense of community through events hosted by a local independent bookstore. If you love food and cooking, make a plan to stroll through your neighborhood farmer’s market every Saturday morning and challenge yourself to strike up conversations with vendors or other shoppers. It’s not so much about the specific activity, Dr. Saltz says—it’s about being surrounded by like-minded folks who also love the same little things you do.

5. Use your alone time to try something new.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn French, or you’ve been thinking about training for your first 5K. Whatever hobby or endeavor you’ve been considering, let your loneliness be the little push you need to actually get started. “The point is to work towards a goal that will make you feel happy and accomplished, and say to yourself, ‘I’m enjoying my solitude,’” Dr. Saltz says. Not only can getting a few small wins under your belt boost your confidence, but it can also help you see your solo time as an opportunity for self-growth—and proof that you can find fulfillment even when you’re alone.

6. Volunteer for a cause you genuinely care about.

Helping other people isn’t just good for them. Plenty of research suggests that lending someone else a hand can give you a mood boost too—a benefit that may be especially welcome when you’re lonely.

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