by Kim Johnson
Loneliness can be due to many different factors but we can feel especially alone when going through a divorce. And it is a big deal because long-term, loneliness can affect both your emotional and physical health. If you want to know what to do when you feel lonely, consider these tips:
Accept your feelings of post-relationship loneliness
You’ve suddenly lost someone important in your life. They are physically gone, as well as emotionally. You may feel disconnected and alienated from others as well. While you grieve and heal from your split, you may experience periods of loneliness that can be a common part of the process in moving forward. Accepting those feelings as part of the process can be healing.
Avoid a rebound relationship
Don’t let loneliness after your breakup or divorce push you to dive into another relationship too quickly. If you’re using a rebound relationship to avoid loneliness or the emotions of a breakup, you may want to reconsider. Instead, try spending some healing time with yourself before embarking again on the dating path.
Join a support group for divorced people
You’re not alone. Therapy groups offer an opportunity to get help and gain understanding and insight from others who are going through a similar experience. Loneliness after divorce is quite common and chances are good you will discover others in your situation who are willing to talk, listen, and offer advice.
Start a new routine
Losing a relationship can also mean your way of life has drastically changed. If you lived with your spouse or partner, it’s likely you had a regular everyday routine. The longer the relationship or marriage, the more ingrained that day-to-day routine likely became. A split can suddenly upend all of that, leaving you feeling disoriented and directionless. Things like meal times, sleep schedules, and even exercise regimens can fall by the wayside, impacting your health and wellness. If you exercised regularly, then get back to it. Exercise alone can help boost endorphins, which can make you feel happier. So, try planning out a new routine for yourself. See if it can help offset some of the factors contributing to any post-breakup loneliness you may be feeling.
Whether it’s volunteering or joining a club, getting engaged with other people can boost your brain’s endorphins and help make you feel happier. Look for volunteer opportunities or join clubs with like minded people. Be open to building lasting friendships and gaining a new support network.
Be good to yourself
Find special things that delight just you. Try to carve out a few enjoyable moments every day. Maybe you’d enjoy a walk or hike, a bubble bath, some yoga, reading a good book, or listening to your favorite music. Whatever it is that brings you immediate enjoyment, spend the time doing it. Building good habits like this can help you fight feeling lonely when your relationship ends.
Besides working to connect with others, don’t overlook the potential power of exercise, healthy food, proper sleep, sunshine, and even praying to fight loneliness.
- Exercise has been shown to trigger endorphins in the brain. These are sometimes called the “happy hormones” due to their power to elevate mood and make you simply feel better.
- Sunshine can do much the same thing as exercise. It also triggers good hormones, including endorphins and serotonin, which have a number of positive downstream benefits. Just make sure you follow safety guidelines when getting out in the sunshine.
- A healthy diet can affect your brain health, too. A daily diet of sugar, preservatives, and highly processed food can have negative impacts on your physical and emotional health. Focus on eating whole foods for a while and see if this can help in your strategy to overcome loneliness.
- Sleep quality is closely tied to emotional health. Loss of sleep or poor sleep habits can aggravate feelings of loneliness and isolation, and vice versa. If you’re fighting loneliness, try practicing better sleep habits. Limit sugar and caffeine before bed, turn off digital devices for some relaxation time, and make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark.
Loneliness after a divorce is a very real effect. But there are many things you can do when trying to overcome it. The key is realizing how you feel and finding the best strategy for you.