Loneliness doesn’t just suck, it blows. I know this because I have dealt with it first hand. The emotions, the weight gain, the boredom. With a new city, a new job and no new friends to speak of, loneliness and I were pretty tight.
If I told you I had a sure-fire way to beat it, I’d be lying. Because if I had found the magic formula, it wouldn’t have taken me 8 months to realize that graduating from college in four years wasn’t the worst decision of my life.
Fortunately for you, I have a few good tips about what NOT to do. Whether you are kicking it at home for the summer or making your way in a brand new city, these tips are sure to keep you from going as crazy as, well, I did.
DO NOT Turn to Your Comfort Food. During my stint in unemployment, I caught an episode of Oprah where Dr. Oz talked about the brain. Apparently, the part of the brain that remembers our fatty comfort foods is right beside the part that stores our memories. So your brain connects the way that fatty comfort food tastes and the way it made you feel better when you ate it. If I had known there was scientific proof that the Pad Thai wasn’t going to make me feel better, maybe I would have only ordered it one time a week instead of three. And of course, the few extra pounds did nothing for my self-esteem.
DO NOT Stay in Bed. Or watch TV in bed or do anything in bed but sleep. (Of course, you can have sex in bed… but first refer to tip #4).
DO NOT Go Shopping. You’ll just be spending to quell the lonely feeling and all that will be left at the end is a bit more credit card debt and clothes you’re probably not that crazy about. However, getting out of the house for a bit of window shopping, sans credit card can be a good mood booster.
DO NOT Drink Alone. Have a drink with dinner, but just one. Trust me, that bottle of wine will go faster than you think. And then you’ll be sitting at home alone, drunk and crying. And it isn’t pretty.
DO NOT Slut it up. You want a hug; you want the feeling of connection. You want something, anything so that you don’t feel so damn ALONE all he time. Bringing home just any boy (or boy after boy) may feel really good now, but tomorrow morning when he leaves and doesn’t ask for your number, you’re going to feel more alone than ever.
DO NOT Bring out the old photo albums or look through the 600 pictures of you and your girls on Facebook. I made the mistake of watching a DVD a friend had compiled of pictures of our friends set to music just a week after I moved away. I was a blubbering mess and my new roommates were mortified.
DO NOT Push Your Friends Away. Distance has already put a space between you so don’t push them farther away by putting up an emotional wall. Just because it may feel like they don’t understand what you’re going through, they’re still your friends and always there for support.
DO NOT Stay Unemployed for Long. Maybe you moved back home without a job or you just haven’t landed that perfect post- grad position. Chances are, any summer job or first job isn’t going to kick ass. Instead of sitting around applying for jobs (and eating and crying and totally wishing you could go back to school) just do ANYTHING. My tip: go through a temp agency and ask for a few jobs where you’re working with a lot of other people. I made two great friends working a sample sale, even though the long hours and snooty people were totally unbearable.
DO NOT Despair. Accept that feeling lonely sucks. Don’t let yourself feel like this isn’t the way you should be feeling right now. Accept the total shittyness of it all and soon, you’ll find that you aren’t feeling so lonely anymore.