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Loneliness is something that anyone can suffer from. Many people with disabilities often feel very isolated by their disability and can therefore feel even lonelier than those without a disability. Here are some ideas to help you to overcome loneliness.

  1. Identify and develop interests and hobbies that you can do by yourself. Plan to spend time alone doing things that you enjoy such as drawing, crafts, gardening, reading or listening to music. Choose something that you can do, within your capability, if you have a disability. This will help you to become a more interesting person and have more positive things to talk about with others.
  2. Greet people with a friendly smile. A smile and direct eye contact makes you seem more friendly and confident. Approach people instead of expecting them to approach you.
  3. Eat a healthy diet and limit or eliminate alcohol. A healthy diet gives your body the energy it needs, and can affect how you feel. Alcohol depresses your mood, and can magnify behaviours that make it difficult for others to be around you.
  4. Try not to be overcome by your problems or the challenges you face. Look for the good in yourself. If you are feeling overwhelmed or depressed, your physician or community mental health program can help connect you with the professional counselling and support services you may need.
  5. Offer to do things for other people without expecting something in return. Everyone does better with understanding and support from others. Help someone carry their groceries, walk their dog, or bring in the mail. Ask others for more ideas about how you can be helpful. Helping, caring for, and reaching out to other people are good ways to show others that you are the kind of person they want to be around.
  6. Ask others for help when you need or want it. Asking others for help means that they don’t have to guess what you need. It can help them feel more comfortable, and you’ll feel better knowing that you have taken control of getting your needs met.
  7. To meet more new people, you must be around people. Since you won’t become friends with or want to date every person you meet, you might need to meet quite a lot of people to find one good friend.
  8. Think about places where you have met people or made friends in the past. Check your local newspaper for free or low cost community events and support groups. Make a commitment to go to at least one of these new activities each week. While it may be hard to go the first time, keep in mind that it’s hard for most people to try new things, and that most of the time, you’ll be glad you went.
  9. Think about adopting a pet. There are many animals in rescue centres that need new homes. You may be able to offer a pet a loving home and find yourself with a grateful companion in return.
  10. Write, call or e-mail your family and friends. Talk to and spend time with people who care about you. Plan to keep in touch once every week or two, even if they don’t answer you every time.
  11. Do volunteer work. Charities,  schools, hospitals and libraries often need volunteer workers. By helping others, you are likely to meet other people with similar interests. Many local newspapers publish a list of volunteer opportunities and many websites list opportunities.
  12. Become involved with a charity that supports or represents people with a disability.  If you have a disability, getting involved in a charity that supports others with that disability means that you stand a good chance of meeting people with similar interests or challenges in your community.
  13. Limit the time you spend on the Internet, in chat rooms and other online connections. Some people use the Internet as a way to reduce loneliness. There are a lot of groups online, but these ‘virtual’ connections lack an important part of friendship – live interaction with another person.

Build Lasting Relationships

One of the best ways of combatting loneliness is through building strong, lasting relationships with other people. In order to do this, first you need to learn to like yourself. If you don’t like yourself, it will be difficult for you to reach out to people who may become friends. Focus on what you can and like to do. When you have a positive attitude about yourself, other people will notice it.

Take care of your physical appearance. It’s very common for people who are discouraged about their lives to reduce the attention they pay to personal care. No matter how you feel, be sure to clean your clothes, brush your teeth and comb your hair. People will have a better view of you and you will feel better about yourself.

Try to think of others at least as much as you think about yourself. Thinking about others is really a skill. The more you practise, the better you get and the less lonely you are likely to be.

Are you Lonely?

Have you found yourself saying any of these?

“Nobody has any idea what I’m going through.”

“Nobody cares about me.”

“People seem to avoid me.”

“My wife threatens to leave me twice a week.”

“Seems like everyone at work has lost my home phone number.”

“I wonder why my boyfriend won’t return my calls.”

“I can’t relate to other people. It’s easier to be by myself.”

If you find yourself saying phrases like these on a regular basis, then you could be suffering from loneliness. Hopefully the tips in this blog will help you to combat your loneliness.

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