You are home alone on a Friday night. You have no plans so you get into your sweats, sit down in front of your TV with your junk food, and start the lengthy process of trying to find something to watch on Netflix. While awaiting for the first episode of your TV binge to load, you browse your social media feed and see the beginning of what will be a long night of pictures/status updates documenting your friend’s weekend adventures. Your stomach sinks and you feel like you want to throw up. You ask yourself “how ridiculous is it that I am at home, watching Netflix by myself on a Friday night?”
We all react in different ways to loneliness. Some of us cling on to people, while others may avoid. Some may isolate themselves further, while others will go through everyone in their address book just so they don’t have to be alone.
Either way, I am convinced that loneliness drives several people to settle.
Many junk food sex and relationships are a result of a deep fear and sense of not wanting to be alone. As a result, we engage in all kinds of junk food behaviours in order to try to get the love and attention that we want. We default to unhealthy behaviours to try to overcome this sense of loneliness—as fast a possible. We have several people that we call up or text at any given time. Women may get dressed up and go out dancing to get a quick fix of attention and feel satisfied. Men may have several different people on speed dial that they can call up when they are feeling lonely. We have uncommitted relationships that range anywhere from one night stands to friends with benefits, and anything in between. But often these junk food interactions result in rollercoaster rides or worse—heartbreak.
There is a better way!
If we could learn to tolerate loneliness for a moment while we challenge our approach to relationships, we could unlock a very different love story in our lives: one that doesn’t result in mixed signals, not being called back, or being belittled. Rather, we can take back control to write a new story, one where we hold the cards to analyze and choose the right person to meet our needs. With a little tolerance for loneliness, we wouldn’t make an impulsive decision based on our feelings and/or genitals, but rather a calculated decision that ensures our needs get met.
We will get to the prescription in just a minute, but first I just want to make something clear. I am not shaming anyone who is going out meeting people just to have a good time. If that is what you are doing, and you are being honest with yourself and the other person about it, then all the power to you. That’s what you want right now. But for those of you who are looking for a different way, let’s take a look at how to cure tolerate a loneliness hangover.
Combating loneliness starts with you. There are several things that you can do independently to nourish and feed your soul. Here are a few ways to individually nurture your emotional and relational needs:
- Spend time with animals: Go for a walk, cuddle, get out of the city and into nature
- Discover your passions: Work on finding meaning in your life outside of your relationships. What are you passionate about? What are your strengths, talents and gifts? Write out a list and start engaging some of these things!
- Go after your goals: Developing your own goals and direction in life is essential. It is important while you are single to take this time and invest it in yourself. Your single years are numbered and it is important to use them wisely!
- Give back to your community: One of the best ways that you can nourish your soul is to give back and help others. If you find yourself with a loneliness hangover you just cant shake, get out and volunteer.
- Develop a healthy relationship with yourself: often times we get into relationships out of need rather than want. We have to learn how to be happy and satisfied with our life with or without someone in it. Focus on developing yourself. What makes you happy? What bring you satisfaction? Is your internal dialogue critical and harsh, or is it calm and reassuring? Spend your limited single time to learn how to treat yourself better. You teach others how to treat you and if you treat yourself harshly what kind of example are you setting?
- Learn how to relax: I would describe relaxing as my body, muscles and mind being at ease. There is also some kind of spiritual element of feeling content and satisfied that can cause us to feel peaceful and relaxed. Try yoga, do some deep breathing, go for a mindful walk or enjoy you children in a present and mindful way. Take in each moment instead of worrying about the past or future.
Once you have learned how to combat loneliness on an independent level, it is important to know how to reach out for nourishing interactions with people in a healthy way. For example, in The Love Reset I suggest that you purge all the junk food sex, relationships and interactions from your life. Loneliness, when not dealt with head on, creeps up on us in ways that are sabotaging to our relationships.
When you are feeling lonely and want the support of family, friends, or someone you are dating, here are some Love Reset approved nutritious ways to meet your needs:
- Go for coffee
- Chat on the phone*
- Getting to know each other
- Engage in a joint hobby or interest
- Going for a meal
- See a movie
- Go on a double date
- Go to the beach
- Hang out pretty much anywhere in public
- Give hugs/kisses
- Be affectionate *
- Go for a walk
- Do something active
- Plan a day trip
*Try to avoid steamy sexual conversations/affection within the first 30-90 days of dating. See The Love Reset for more information.
You get the idea. Keep it PG. This will insure that your emotional needs are being met rather than just your physical.
If you have a way to combat loneliness that I have not mentioned, I would love for you to comment so that others can add it to their arsenal of weapons to destroy this haunting feeling.
If you find that you are making a lot junk food decision out of fear or loneliness, head on over to The Love Reset where you can learn how to put your love life on a diet!
Wishing you love,