Your mental state is a powerful place for interpreting and dealing with emotions. During the holiday season, in particular, you may experience loneliness depending on your circumstances. However, knowing how to address loneliness with mental health skills can transform your understanding of this emotion. If you feel loneliness setting in, validate your feelings, observe the cause, experience your feelings, allow for other emotions, and find ways to connect with others. Additionally, you can turn to professional mental health services for further advice and support.
- Validate Your Feelings
When difficult emotions—including loneliness—set in, recognize and validate those feelings. By validating your emotions, you validate yourself and your mental state.
You should take this step whether or not you have someone nearby who can also validate those feelings. Another person can support the idea that your feelings have motivations and that you must allow yourself to discover that meaning.
Although we need community, remember that the human experience is individualistic at its core. Even people surrounded by others experience loneliness. Validating and honoring your loneliness means that you’re honoring your nature.
- Observe the Cause
Identify when, where, and why you began to feel lonely. Did an environment, event, or memory trigger your emotion? Does the emotion come and go or does it feel ever-present?
Identify whether your circumstances caused your emotions or you’re lacking something in your life. Realizing the source of your emotion can help you to interpret the motive behind it as well as how to move past it.
- Experience Your Feelings
Once you have validated your emotions and observed their cause, give yourself the time and space to experience your loneliness. Doing so may require that you schedule a time to quiet the world around you as you explore your feelings.
Use this space to be still, journal, or take a walk to process your emotions. Express love and compassion towards your feelings. Know that you will always be there for yourself in times when you feel alone.
- Allow for Other Emotions
After giving yourself time to experience your loneliness, allow yourself to move away from that space. You can revisit it later, but allow yourself to feel other emotions.
Opposing emotions can exist in conjunction with one another. Although you may be in a state of loneliness, you should seek sources of joy. Prioritize doing things that you enjoy, whatever your interests may be. Take in the five senses of the experiences you pursue alone.
Doing something active is also a great option. Physical activity actualizes your physical existence while your emotions feel heavy or looming.
5. Find Ways to Connect with Others
If your loneliness arises from a mental illness or isolation, find ways to connect with others in your community. This step may be as simple as going to a busy park to read a book or enjoying a cup of coffee in a coffee shop with others around you.
Volunteering can also reduce your stress, improve your self-esteem, and give you purpose. You may encounter other isolated individuals by engaging with your community.
If you realize that your loneliness comes from missing a lost loved one, identify what makes you think of them. Was there an activity you enjoyed doing with them? Maybe you shared a tradition of baking cookies while listening to holiday music. Try turning on some music and baking their favorite cookies to spiritually reconnect with them.
If your loneliness is due to distance from friends or family during the holidays, think of possible ways you can connect from afar. Plan to play a game or wrap gifts together via video chat.
Therapeutic Alliance: Individualized Mental Health Treatment in Alexandria, VA
Combat loneliness this holiday season with mental health services provided by Therapeutic Alliance. We understand how isolating loneliness can feel. Whether you are dealing with stress, life changes, depression, or anxiety—or just need help building mental health skills—we can support you. We recognize our clients as the primary change agents in their mental health journey, and we facilitate a holistic approach to their treatment. For services and support in Alexandria, VA and all over northern VA, contact us at (833) 319-0526.