This time of year can be tough. Everyone around you is making plans with family and friends – and it makes you feel even more alone. These feelings may tempt you to turn to alcohol or drugs for company.
Surviving Another New Year
Fortunately, throwing sobriety out the window is not your only option – there are healthy ways to cope. If you’re feeling lonely as 2017 approaches, try the following:
- Be creative: Find an outlet. You don’t have to be the next Michelangelo. Just try something simple. Do a puzzle. Try something crafty. Start a new hobby. Learn to play an instrument (harmonicas are fairly cheap, and you can even learn online for free!) Okay, that might not be for everyone, but you can find something that sparks your interest and gets those creative juices flowing.
- Reach out: How often are two people feeling lonely, but they never call each other? Or how about a friend who isn’t feeling lonely, but would love to hear from the one who is? Making that call or sending that text can be intimidating. You fear rejection. You worry about feeling awkward. But it’s well worth it to face those fears, rather than wallow in loneliness. Contact a friend, family member, neighbor, coworker, or sponsor. One call could transform your whole year!
- Exercise: When we are physically active, we do more than burn calories. We get our happy brain chemicals pumping. Take a walk. Pop in a workout DVD. Regular exercise will help you feel better physically and emotionally.
- Assist others: Find someone to serve. Volunteer with an organization, or help someone you know personally. As you pour into others, you focus less on yourself. You’ll stay busy, make an impact, and you might even form new relationships in the process.
- This too shall pass: Keep in mind that no emotion is permanent. If you’re feeling lonely, be patient…it will likely lessen tomorrow. But this can be hard to remember in the moment. All we can feel is the emotional pain. Remembering that “this too shall pass” will help you keep a healthy perspective during the upcoming year.
- Hum a tune: What type of music do you enjoy? It doesn’t matter if you sound like Bing Crosby or Justin Bieber. Belt it out. Sing. Whistle. Research has shown that music can make you feel better. Singing can be a great emotional release and it goes hand-in-hand with a New Year’s Eve celebration – go ahead and croon away!
- Embrace it: We often spend a lot of emotional energy trying to deny our emotions, which is absolutely counterproductive. While we don’t want to set up camp in lonely land and live there forever, we don’t want to deny the feeling either. It can be helpful to simply acknowledge how we are feeling. Accept that it’s normal to feel lonely sometimes. By embracing it, we can disarm it and move out of it.
Additional Reading: 6 Tips to Survive the Holidays with Your Sobriety Intact
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