How do you handle loneliness?

by singlemomseeking on December 15, 2008

Loneliness used to hit me really hard around this time: the holidays. Don’t get me wrong: it still hits, but fortunately I can sit with it now. I’ve learned to turn to family and friends, exercise, reading. (If you’ve read my book, then you know that I used to turn to one thing only: men.)

And, of course, there’s this blog.

Although an online connection can feel surreal — how well do we really know each other? — it has taken away so much of the loneliness. I can only hope that this blog is doing the same for many of you. When I read your comments, I swear I can hear some of your voices.

There’s this poem I recently read — The Rider, by Naomi Shihab Nye — which beautifully sums up my relationship with loneliness:

A boy told me
if he roller-skated fast enough
his loneliness couldn’t catch up to him,
the best reason I ever heard
for trying to be a champion…

On that note, I’m giving away an Afterglow Candle from Babeland for the holidays. Who doesn’t need a little light?

Not only does it burn up to 42 hours, but the candle doubles as a massage oil! It comes with a body brush that you can dip into the melted wax and use as massage oil on your skin (or someone else’s skin? I’m just saying!)

“More than a candle, it’s an encounter.”


So, let’s hear how you handle loneliness. What do you do when you’re feeling lonely?


If you’re inspired to get poetic, go for it! You have until Friday to participate!

Read “The Rider” by Naomi Shihab Nye in its entirety here.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Leah www.singlemommyhood.com December 15, 2008 at 9:03 am

Loneliness . . . not just a holiday problem for sure.

Realizing that the holiday media images of happy couples are just that . . . media fantasies is key.

Reality check: Being in a relationship does not guarantee feeling happy and connected. If you’re feeling lonely, it’s way better to be by yourself.

The best antidote to loneliness is to focus on doing something which comforts, amuses, or satisfies just you . . .This is tough for single parents, but a well deserved focus on you can go a long way to dispel those lonely feelings.

Dr. Leah http://www.singlemommyhood.com´s last blog post…Does this make you run like hell, too?

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dadshouse December 15, 2008 at 9:55 am

There’s being alone, and being lonely, and they are two different things. I deal with alone time by doing things I love – cycling, reading, watching Italian Serie A soccer, cooking, hanging out with friends (so much for alone time, eh?)

Loneliness is tougher – it does occasionally bite me in the butt. There are times where you simply need some companionship, or a good cry. Feeling happy and grateful for the good in my life usually gets me past these moments if I’m forced to endure my loneliness alone.

dadshouse´s last blog post…Coffee House Pickup

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Angie December 15, 2008 at 10:09 am

I agree with dadshouse comment — there is a difference between alone and loneliness. I deal with alone great. There are tons of hobbies and activitites to fill alone time.

However, loneliness – not so much. In fact, my tactic of pretending it doesn’t exist in my life is probably the worst! Those are the times I end up in bed at 8pm so I can just sleep it away and hope for a better day tomorrow.

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singlemomseeking December 15, 2008 at 10:15 am

Thanks for pointing out the difference between “alone” and “loneliness.”

I just edited that bit in my post because my quotation marks didn’t make the point… thanks you two!

Angie: Although it might be a change in routine, you might call someone at 8 p.m. when that feeling hits?

Dad’s House: Here’s to good friends, yes?

All right, let’s hear from the rest of you. Can’t wait!

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mc December 15, 2008 at 11:52 am

I’m rarely lonely when my kids are around—but when they’re not (like this holiday–they’re with their Dad), I do get lonely sometimes. I try to look on the bright side, to take advantage of the opportunity for alone time, which is kind of rare for me. I also think it’s important to take care of ourselves when we’re lonely.

Obviously, the best thing is to get together with friends or family! But if I can’t do that, these things invariably cheer me up when I’m feeling lonely:

- Spending the evening reading magazines while listening to very loud R&B and/or cheesy arena rock bands and singing along very loudly, with hand motions! And air guitar! (tip: be sure to pull the curtains first so the neighbors don’t think you’ve gone insane),
- Watching movies on DVD and crying/laughing along (A guilty pleasure! Just make sure they’re not truly “serious” movies or you might get into a worse mood. La Boheme, The Blues Brothers, Darjeeling Unlimited, Love Actually, any idiotic rom com are good!)
- organizing stuff like my closet, online photos, my kitchen or garage, or my kids’ toys and figuring out what we don’t need anymore and giving it away (it makes me feel virtuous and productive),
- and getting outdoors to do anything—like a run, a bike ride, some skiing, gardening, or at least a walk.

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AppleTree December 15, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Yoga.

Yoga seems to be my cure all.

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gail December 15, 2008 at 12:40 pm

there are plenty of married or “coupled” people who are lonely and plenty of single people who aren’t. Most of my 40 something female friends (married and not) find solace in their friends.

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Angie December 15, 2008 at 12:45 pm

You’re right, I should call someone…I just despise talking on the phone. Buut…that said, I just thought it might be fun to skype someone – do some crafting “together!”

I will have to try that! Thanks for the idea :)

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SDMktg December 15, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Most of the time I’m with my kids or my girlfriend and lately I use “alone” time to catch up on shows I’ve DVR’d. I like going to action movies by myself too. Then if it isn’t very good I don’t have to answer to anyone for taking them to a bad movie.

I will admit there are some rough times though. Sometimes I work out and other nights I drink and stay up way too late just to avoid going to bed. I should take the healthy route more. I was the most lonely when I was married so I have some perspective now but family events when my kids aren’t with me and everyone else is there with their spouse and kids are very tough.

And yes, sites like this do help. Thanks SMS.

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SDMktg December 15, 2008 at 1:00 pm

I forgot to mention…nice poem. I used to try to outrun the loneliness. I spent at least a year trying. It doesn’t work. It always catches you.

SDMktg´s last blog post…Sweet G’s Shot of the Week – The Four Horsemen + Cheerleaders…

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Hanna December 15, 2008 at 1:27 pm

The christmas tree is bringing me a suprising sense of comfort this year. After LB goes to bed, I sit and stare at it and I feel less lonely. Sometimes I talk to it. Oh God, has it come to this? Am I associating a tree with actual human presence?

Ye Gads my coping mechanisms are one for the book.

Hanna´s last blog post…Twas the Week before Christmas

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Single Mom in New England December 15, 2008 at 2:34 pm

Very similar to what you all are saying above, most times I just call a girlfriend and listen to them talk about the woes of how infuriating/distressing/frustrating it is living with a husband… when I hang up, I somehow I feel so much better about my decision to be alone!! :) Planning something alone is always a great way for me to deal with being lonely – getting excited about a new book to read or a new movie (hopefully something FUNNY!!) to see usually kicks it. Also, watching DVRd SNL episodes also does the trick (Unexpectedly laughing out loud helps!). Also thinking of anonymous nice good deeds to do for other people makes me feel less lonely and gets me excited about something worthwhile. (Keeping your eyes open for small favors to do is fun)

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Kelly December 15, 2008 at 2:43 pm

I don’t get lonely much. I enjoy quiet time to myself. In fact tonight I have plans to go out to dinner with some people, and I’m making myself go even though I’d rather go home and curl up in my recliner. I’m sure I’ll have fun, but there are times I just want to enjoy the quiet.

But when that lonely feeling does come, I do one of many things – blog, read other blogs, call a friend (okay, I don’t really do that because I hate talking on the phone too, Angie! But maybe just to ask if we can get together), watch TV (see, then you can see other people! LOL, lame but it at least takes my mind off of it), go out somewhere (even to the store), or snuggle with my doggie.

Kelly´s last blog post…Buffyfan30′s Tweets

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singlemomseeking December 15, 2008 at 3:50 pm

I just realized that my candle link was bad — it’s fixed now. Mmmm!

Kelly and Angie: the truth is, I don’t like to talk on the phone much, either! I hear you. But like you said, Kelly, a little call to make plans is a great idea.

Thanks for your recipes SDMktng in the previous post! I’m vowing to have more friends over for meals this coming year. I need to get my crock pot.

Gail: Thanks for reminding us that married folks get lonely, too.

MC: Great list! You could have written this post.

Single Mom: Yes, funny movies/shows. Maybe you can recommend some of your fav movies? I need to get some for the upcoming weeks.

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won December 15, 2008 at 5:12 pm

Wow…the timing is no coincidence I am sure. I just wrote a post, and then searched for a quote to add to it on loneliness and Christmas. I found the following, posted it on my blog, then surfed over here and found your post….

“Isn’t it funny that at Christmas something in you gets so lonely for – I don’t know what exactly, but it’s something that you don’t mind so much not having at other times.”
Kate L. Bosher

won´s last blog post…Juxtapositions

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judy December 15, 2008 at 5:16 pm

cry

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justagirl December 15, 2008 at 8:49 pm

I cry and if that doesnt work I go to the bar.

justagirl´s last blog post…Fievel and Fraggle

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laurakim December 15, 2008 at 9:40 pm

I have always had my kids with me so cant remember every feeling lonely over the holidays!

Its a very fun time for us all!!!

Its all the in between lonliness that gets me!

laurakim´s last blog post…Questions and Answers

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judy December 15, 2008 at 10:30 pm

yep justagirl the bar is phase II and if that doesn’t work I proceed to Phase III DWI…Dialing while Intoxicated. (just ask my hairdresser, he’s on the top of my DWI list)

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avigail74 December 16, 2008 at 9:03 am

Christmas used to be the loneliest day of my life—even as a small child–because I”m Jewish. It was hard just knowing that the whole world was celebrating–and I was home alone–I couldn’t call friends because they were busy—but now as an adult–I do have a close friend that has been inviting me over every Christmas. This really helps.

But, I just finished reading a book–and one thing that I found striking was: if you’re feeling empty–ask yourself, what do you need to do to fill it up? It was telling me that it was I that had to figure out how to fill up that emptiness (a big AHA! moment and a hard one too!)

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singlemomseeking December 16, 2008 at 10:33 am

Do tell Avigail: Which book were you reading? I’m curious.

Judy and Just A Girl: We’ve got to get you some healthy alternatives!

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J December 16, 2008 at 1:28 pm

Lonliness… I’m recently out of a relationship… granted it was short lived but intense. I’ve gone out with friends and that helps some… but this past weekend, I self-medicated with alcohol… LOTS of alcohol and that was NOT good. I did some DWI and some TWI (texing while intoxicated). Lonliness sucks! But in an effort to combat my sure to be lonely christmas as my child is with her dad this year, I’m planning on going to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons. I just keep focusing on my “plan” for Christmas day and try to see it as great alone time rather than being lonely.

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Robyn December 16, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Oh, I have been working on this for weeks because I am going to be alone on New Year’s Eve. Yes, there is such a difference between being alone and lonely, and this year I know I may be very lonely. I feel like I am the only person on the planet who won’t be celebrating. How will I cope? A great book, bubble bath, music, and good wine. It will also be a time for reflection as I deal with my constant changing life. Focus, refocus, and just dance.

Robyn´s last blog post…Friday Update

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judy December 16, 2008 at 5:19 pm

crying can be healthy

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Crazy Computer Dad December 16, 2008 at 9:09 pm

Ok…you said poetic…so I had to try…the meetin at the end is a reference to meetin.org. The formatting isn’t going to work…maybe…we’ll see

Un-Lonely

The days are short and drawing in,
the gray rain clouds make sunlight dim,
in darkness each workday begins,
in darkness does each workday end.

the cold december winds and rain
daily reminders of the pain
that warmth once held is gone again
this cold house is despair’s domain

Now I have two paths before me,
Not predetermined destiny,
The future what I choose to be,
Be alone or with company.

Some nights alone and some with friends,
Some friends new and some new again,
I find a way to be with them,
email phone blog lunch match meetin.

Crazy Computer Dad´s last blog post…I crossed a huge milestone today…

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singlemomseeking December 17, 2008 at 1:05 am

Wow, CCD, I had no idea there was a poet lurking in there. Thank you! Amazing.

And you must really want that hot wax…

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Crazy Computer Dad December 17, 2008 at 3:30 am

:-)
I do REALLY want the hot wax!

Crazy Computer Dad´s last blog post…I crossed a huge milestone today…

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QTMama December 19, 2008 at 11:35 am

I don’t mind being alone, not anymore.

For the loneliness, I’m utterly amazed at the support I’ve received from the blogging world – you included. It’s comforting and has become a great big friend to me. I’ve made some amazing friendships, and ones that I hope last a lifetime. So I guess for me, when the loneliness hits, I blog. :)

QTMama´s last blog post…Tis the Season for …

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