So how does one cope when straddling the breakup gap between lost love and new love? Itâ€™s an ongoing education for sure, but Iâ€™ve come up with a few tactics that I hope youâ€™ll find easy and helpful as you move through this transition of your life.
I know this sounds like a crazy and unhealthy coping mechanism (especially coming from a therapist), but there was a time when movies were the only pastime. Itâ€™s only in our modern culture that we shy away from this great distraction because of how technologically addicted we all are. Look at this the same way you would if you were on vacation and wanting to kind of check out from your life. Youâ€™re actually on hiatus from love, so why not use that situation to your advantage and get in some good screen time?
Everyone has at least a couple of drawers or a closet to clean out. Getting rid of some old stuff and relinquishing junk youâ€™ve been stockpiling both fills your time and keeps you focused on something other than your loneliness. Taking action opens up pathways in the brain that inspire and motivate because we all want to feel productive. Sitting around feeds the loneliness monster because youâ€™re just waiting instead of doing.
For me, writing is an ongoing project, and Iâ€™ve never been more productive than Iâ€™ve been over these last few weeks being alone. By now youâ€™re probably getting the theme of focusing on something, and projects keep you directed while invoking a feeling of creativity. Creativity is inspiring and healing, so pick something to work on that opens that part of your mind and heart. Puzzles are great, start a Pinterest board, plant a garden, or build something if youâ€™re handy.
A large part of loneliness is feeling like you’re disconnected or don’t belong. Thereâ€™s something about the outdoors that makes it impossible to feel alone. I always think of plant life as my â€œrelatives,â€ so even just sitting in the yard or going for a short walk can shift your mindset from loneliness to being a part of something greater. Going on a hike or visiting a body of water works wonders, but if thatâ€™s not possible, simply being in fresh air will do the trick.
This is a general recommendation, the point of which is donâ€™t be still too long. That feeling of restlessness you get when you start to feel emptyâ€”or like something is missingâ€”is normal, and moving will release the tension. Dancing is an amazing release (and no oneâ€™s even looking), or getting in your car for a little road trip can transform loneliness into freedom. Again, action is powerful when it comes to moving through loneliness. It allows us to take control and move on faster instead of dwelling on the situation.
Loneliness is painful, but it can be hugely informative as well. Youâ€™ll never know yourself better than when youâ€™re forced to be with yourself on this level. Use the time wisely, because soon enough youâ€™ll be wishing you had that solitude back.