Are you feeling lonely? It’s not a fun emotion as it usually morphs into feeling sad, isolated, or depressed.
You’ve probably known periods of loneliness more often than you’d like. Most women over 50 have, so you’re not alone.
As you age, people you care about disappear from your life either because of different interests, a relocation, or death. Most that are left are younger.
They view your world as history. You’ve preserved it as memories.
Not many understand who you are, what you’ve lost, how you think, what you fear, how you process experiences, or know the challenges that have shaped the person you’ve become.
Few share your life at any depth.
It’s easy to feel forgotten.
We tend to medicate the gloom of being alone with hours of watching TV, mindless internet surfing, or eating a carton of ice cream with lots of hot fudge sauce.
And don’t forget to add a brownie on the side just to encourage the sugar high. *sigh*
Rather than succumb to unhealthy habits of dealing with the yuck of being alone, consider trading loneliness for something that brings you a sense of fulfillment.
Knowing you can make a difference builds purpose and resilience, which counters loneliness.
You need resilience, or you will wither up and succumb to defeat.
And defeat isn’t what Jesus is all about. So get your focus right, girl!
Here are 16 ways to turn your loneliness into purpose
WARNING: If you are lonely and/or depressed, none of the following suggestions will sound motivating! THAT’S why doing one of them is so important.
Almost all of the following suggestions can be done during shelter-in-home times. I’ll show you how. Keep reading.
1. Regularly check in on a neighbor who is more limited than you are. If you can’t leave your home, make a phone call, learn how to use Zoom. (It’s free.) If you can get out and about, take a meal over and share it together. Play a board game or listen to the stories of her years.
2. Make a friend’s day by attending a community event together. Since the Coronavirus, many events are now offered online. You’ll find events updated regularly in your area’s event paper, school district activities, online on your city or county website, and Nextdoor for neighborhood events.
3. If possible, volunteer to cuddle drug-affected newborns in the maternity ward at your local hospital.
4. Plan a Camp Grandma for your grandkids or a Cousin’s Camp for the nieces and nephews. Planning is half the fun of hosting a camp! The other half of fun is experiencing the kids all together with you.
5. Invest in a younger generation by becoming a teacher’s aide at a local school or volunteer at a library. You can often do this online via Zoom or another live video service.
6. Knit, crochet, or sew a lap blanket for new moms at church or ones who come under the care of a crisis pregnancy center. Do the same for folks in transitional care or an elder care residence. Then, if possible, deliver the gift and visit with the recipient.
7. Challenge yourself to socialize once a week. Join a Bible study, book club, or any group that shares your hobby or interest. To find one, check with local churches or find local interest groups at Meetup. During a shelter-in-home period, my group meets weekly over Zoom.
8. Find out how to be part of a group that cleans up hiking trails or a beach.
9. Get involved in a church. The fellowship there is all about “we” and “us”—you are part of the family of God. Go with the intention of encouraging someone who looks like they need a friend.
10. Like to cook? Each Sunday, invite someone from church over for a home-cooked meal.
11. Get to know the people in your neighborhood by greeting them each time you cross paths. Get to know their kids, their pets, and become the neighborhood encourager.
12. Become a patron of the arts in your community. Volunteer at a museum, a local theater group, or art events.
13. Learn a new skill! Take a class offered by your community center, church, a hobby center, or go back to college.
14. Invest in your community. Offer to help at a food bank, soup kitchen, your local homeless shelter, or get involved in community discussion groups.
15. Join a travel group or go on a cruise to visit a place you’ve never experienced. Connect with a travel agent, AAA, or online to find the perfect group and place to go.
16. Hang out with some non-humans. Dog-sit one day a week at a local animal shelter.
…I double-dog dare you to try one connecting activity this week.
Sure, it takes a little work, but you’ve done harder things before.
And really, you don’t want to let your loneliness rule the week.
So choose an activity and then DO IT!
You’ll feel so much better having a bit of purpose in your life.
Need a friend? Read How to Find New Friends When You’re Over 50.