Struggling with Loneliness? Don’t Do These Three Things
Life as a Catholic single comes with plenty of difficulties. But perhaps one of the hardest aspects to handle is the loneliness.
The reality of loneliness can creep in when you find yourself alone at home in the evening or on a weekend.
If you’re longing to find a fulfilling family life of your own at home, an empty house can start to feel pretty discouraging.
Are there good ways to combat these feelings of sadness that can creep in when we’re lonely? Without a doubt. But there are also some poor ways to handle loneliness.
If you’re feeling down and lonely at home, avoid these coping strategies and instead choose one of our healthy alternatives!
Don’t drink away the loneliness
Our culture isn’t afraid to encourage turning to a bottle in moments of loneliness.
Most country songs teach you that getting drunk is a go-to for dealing with those lonely nights. There’s even a recurring joke in the NBC sitcom “The Good Place.” The (single) main character is known to pick up a “Lonely Gal Margarita Mix for One” for an evening at home alone.
Don’t try to down your sorrows with Lonely Gal Margarita Mix for One.
There’s lots of reasons that you’ll regret drinking away the pain. For instance, you’ll wake up in the morning feeling a little hungover and still as lonely as the night before.
On a more serious note, drunkenness is a sin, and frequently drinking away the blues can turn into an incredibly unhealthy habit.
It’s perfectly fine for most of us to enjoy drinking alcohol on occasion.
But trying to use it to numb our pain is not a wise strategy.
Even if you get married and have a wonderful family life, there will always be seasons of pain and sadness in your life. If you start using alcohol to cope with pain now, you might be setting yourself up for a lifetime of trouble in this area.
What’s a healthy alternative?
Plan a night to go out for a couple of drinks with some friends. Give yourself something to look forward to, instead of wallowing in the pain you feel right now.
Always be responsible and temperate when you do drink.
Don’t binge-watch the night away
It’s so easy to accidentally allow ourselves to get wrapped up in episode after episode of some fantastic show when we’re home and experiencing loneliness.
Personally, I love watching TV and movies, probably even more than most people, since I’m a screenwriter. But I avoid binge-watching even in emotionally healthy times.
Whenever we start watching a good, engrossing movie or TV show, we enter into the world of the characters. There’s nothing wrong with this. That is, until we’re absorbed in it for so long that it stays with us heavily once we’re done watching.
For me, the longer I watch something in one sitting, the more I’m thinking about the story throughout the next day or even longer.
If you’re watching something good and wholesome, there may be less issues. But let’s face it, there are fairly slim pickings of shows that we could, in all honesty, classify as good and wholesome.
There are a few reasons to avoid binge-watching when we’re feeling down.
We might find ourselves drawn to particularly depressing or dark material when we feel like this. It’s definitely not going to help our emotional state to be absorbed in a dark, depressing story-line throughout our next day or even longer.
Even if it’s not something dark or depressing that we binge-watch, shows full of sexual content or other moral problems are probably not something we want to end up dwelling on for a long while.
Sometimes just the act of sitting down to watch something for a very long time can lead to further feelings of depression. You might feel sedentary, and like you’ve just wasted a big chunk of your life.
Should you stop watching television? Absolutely not. So what is the healthy alternative to binging that new show on Netflix?
Make sure you only watch an episode or two, and pick something you know won’t be depressing.
Have a big chunk of time with nothing to do? Settle on a movie instead. Then you can avoid the temptation to just keep watching when Netflix cues up that next episode.
Don’t stalk your ex on social media
If you’re on social media at all, you’ve probably found yourself filling extra time by mindlessly scrolling through your feed before.
This probably isn’t a fantastic use of time. But it’s not necessarily harmful to your mental or emotional state.
It’s natural to wonder what your ex might be up to. But even if you were the one who broke things off, or if things didn’t end in a painful way, it can still be a bad idea to stalk them.
Maybe your stalking leads to the discovery that they’re happily married with a new baby. This might fuel the flames of your loneliness.
You may happen to find that they’re still single and (might be) miserable. Stalking them online may leave you feeling smug, or happy at their misfortune.
Your stalking may lead you to reach out to them, even if the past relationship with them ended for a good reason.
Home alone and tempted to search for an ex on social media? Search for an old friend instead.
Look up someone you went to high school or college with. Then, reach out to them and reconnect. This just might help you rekindle an old friendship at the same time.
To say the loneliness of your season of singleness is hard is an understatement.
But before you fall prey to a coping strategy that feels like a quick fix, ask yourself whether it will end up making things even harder in the long run.
Adrienne Thorne is a Catholic wife, mother, screenwriter, and blogger, as well as author of the Catholic YA romance novel SYDNEY AND CALVIN HAVE A BABY. She blogs about TV and Movies from Catholic perspective at Thorne in the Flesh: A Faithful Catholic's Guide to Netflix, Hulu, and More.