I will be the first to admit I get lonely, extremely lonely.
This isn’t about not having people in your life, you can have the best of friends and family and still feel like the loneliest person in the world. My loneliness is often a feeling of disconnect from those around me, a lack of energy to be social, yet a feeling of frustration due to the isolation that it brings.
How to combat loneliness.
I am sure there are many techniques and theories on how to combat loneliness, but in terms of what works for me, I am going to look at this from a creative’s point of view.
First, I would like to highlight that I am aware of some of the negative symptoms loneliness can cause. It can leave us feeling lethargic, asking ourselves “what is the point”. It can lead to us acting in an indulgent manner, often in ways that leave us feeling regretful. In extreme cases it can lead to depression and really put pressure on our mental wellbeing.
Sometimes, the things above can’t be avoided and we will respond in a negative way, no matter how much will power we perceive ourselves to have.
However, on the days where the loneliness feels more manageable, here are 5 ways you can use your creative strengths to help combat that crippling feeling of loneliness.
1) Look beyond human interaction as a way of feeling connected.
“I have nobody who understands me, nobody to talk to, nobody to connect with”. We have all uttered those words when we are lonely. And whilst they are very legitimate thoughts and feelings, sometimes going deeper can help subdue them. Next time you are feeling lonely, try looking beyond what you lack in human connection, and tell yourself what you connect to creatively.
Try this – “I have my art, I have my dreams, I have my camera, my paintbrush, my microphone, my projects”. Whatever you have creatively, say it out loud as they are just as much a part of you as the people around you.
2) Look towards your creative future as a source of comfort.
Anyone who has read about mindfulness (that includes me) may say the best way to combat stress, anxiety and loneliness is to bring yourself into the present moment. Well, sometimes, the present moment absolutely sucks.
When we feel down, I am a big believer in taking time to look forwards and put things in place for a better future. So, next time you feel isolated, pick up a pen and some paper and come up with your next creative project. Establish a theme, highlight how you are going to execute it and create and end goal. Doing this will give you’re a feeling of excitement and a much needed injection of enthusiasm.
3) Take some self-portraits.
Photographers have been taking selfies years before the front facing camera on a smartphone was ever invented (as you may smugly think anytime you see Debbie pout in front of some salt beef and a form of seeded bread with her smartphone in her hand).
Whilst time consuming, it is the most intimate form of portraiture as we are documenting and creatively connecting with ourselves. This is important, as sometimes loneliness can also be about not being able to identify with oneself.
“Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose?”. Whilst they are extremely narcissistic questions, they very much are present within the human mind.
Taking your portrait may not give you the answer, but it gives you a chance to be creative and record a time when you were feeling down and to show you what you did about it.
4) Go sit where other creatives sit and be creative.
Remember that article you wanted to write? Or that picture book you wanted to put together? Well why not take yourself to a coffee shop, make it somewhere hip, and you can bet your number 1 possession there will be other creatives there, being creative and feeling deeply misunderstood and disconnected.
You may not talk to anyone; you may not want to. But being around other likeminded people can give us comfort in the fact that people are on the same journey, having the same struggles and working towards something better. Seeing all those MacBooks and artbooks can give us a kick up the rear and help inspire us to work on our own projects and get our creative workflow going.
5) Get out and do what you do best.
It is no longer about accepting what you have, or planning what to do. When you are feeling lonely, get whatever creative instrument you use, and use it. Connect to your passion and the thing that drives you as a person and don’t stop driving until you absolutely run out of gas.
The reason we are so passionate about our creative side, is because it gives us a great reason to be alive. It makes us feel euphoric and answers those little questions about who we are and what we are here to do.
What better way to combat loneliness than to connect to the craft that makes us feel most connected?
What works for you when your lonely? I would love for you to connect with me and share your suggestions.
Also, if you do feel alone and want another creative person to talk to, you are more than welcome to get in touch as I am always happy to talk.
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Thanks for reading.