I know them so well – depression and loneliness. It’s like nothing good ever happened to you and nothing will!
I’ve lived for years fighting these feelings. Didn’t get better.
Then I decided to accept them – isn’t it that what everyone says you should do?
Well, it doesn’t help either.
Tried to ignore them – like a fly in the room. It’s there, you can hear it and see it occasionally, but most of the time you pretend it doesn’t exist.
It doesn’t help for long.
I’ve been through deep, self-destructive depression, painful loneliness, infinite sadness, ugly anxiety, choking reality…
The more you think about it, the worst it gets!
It has nothing to do with accepting nor ignoring the bad moods. It’s all about shifting the perception of something that’s just a feeling and separating it from yourself.
I am not my blue version.
I am not my worry face expressions.
I am not my depressed tiers.
All that is an expression of feeling I am going through.
And just like when we hear a good joke we laugh for a while, and then we stop… In the same way, we will go through depression and loneliness for a while, and then it will end.
I love the next quote:
“The worst thing about this world – nothing lasts forever. The best part? Nothing lasts forever…”
I was driving from my sister’s house to my rented room in a shared house.
I was going through deep grief and all of its stages. The reason is personal and doesn’t matter right now. What matter, is that I had imagined more than 10 times in the last two weeks how I’m going to end it.
There’s this sharp turn on the road to my place. I was going to see a lorry coming right after this turn and drive my small Ford KA straight into its front. Fast and hopefully painful.
You might say it’s selfish and I’m crazy. You might say I don’t think about the consequences, about the poor driver’s life after that, about my family. How rude and pointless way to end…
I hear you.
And you are right!
The difference between you and me is that at that moment, I didn’t give a damn what would happen next. All I wanted was to put an end to the pain.
I’ve written a few times about the Law of Attraction and how it always works for me.
Of course, it did work this time too.
I approached the turn, and I saw a big lorry coming out just around the corner. My speed was a little bit over 40mph., the lorry’s speed was probably the same. Perfect opportunity, clean and secured exit…
My phone was on the seat next to mine. It rang just a second before the turn. Instinctively I looked at it and saw that my father was calling.
If there was one person I really didn’t want to hurt at this point in my life, that was my dear father.
Going through the pain I had experienced during the last few weeks, I had only one person to turn and scream to, cry with, share to… My father.
That was the second I realised I could never do that to him.
Also, that was the second I thought “What if…?”
What if I see what’s next in life?
What if I decide not to give up, no matter what?
What if I give this life one more chance?
What if I see how far this would take me?
From this very moment, I decided that if I’m not going to die, then it’s time to start to live.
Where should I start then?
I took many tough decisions in the next few days.
I started many good habits, all of them having the same connecting point – Love for Myself.
It took me a while to understand I didn’t love myself enough. Yeah, it sounds logical, but to taste the bitter truth is so sobering and shocking!
If you don’t love yourself, you don’t even realise it.
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So, here there are – 38 ways to start loving yourself. I cannot promise you I’ve been through all of them (maybe around 80%).
However, each one of them will help you go through that period of time you really hate.
I don’t want you to read self-help books. They will not make you feel better. They will show you the way you should feel, and that’s not helpful. You know how you should feel. You don’t need a book to tell you that.
I have a list of 5 inspirational books for women you could check here. They bring tears into my eyes, make me laugh and inspire me to dream. And believe me, the best “depression and loneliness”-the free pill is to dream. Be brave! Dream big!
I remember how I would tuck myself in the bed and would spend the afternoon watching movies that were touching my soul.
I was watching movies about wonders, inspiring stories and happy endings. Yes, I needed a movie with a happy ending so I could believe such existed.
One of the movies I remember is “Miracles from Heaven” – beautiful story you don’t want to miss.
You know, sometimes all we need is a good, sobbing, choking cry for ten minutes. And then it becomes easier to proceed with our day.
Have you ever felt that deep need to cry but you cannot? I’ve got you covered! Just promise to be short and then to smile.
“What Dreams May Come” with Robin Williams is the right movie for you. Deep meaning, beautiful pictures, the wisdom in Robin William’s words… a must-see film with a happy ending, I promise.
Depression and loneliness hate the simple act of care for another being.
Do you know why?
Because in these moments we need someone to show us they care. A cute puppy or kitten will show this love and care for you. They will cuddle with you and add the warmth you need during a bad day.
So, adopt a pet.
Every day choose something small to look forward to.
Is it going to be a coffee with a friend? Is it a warm cup of hot chocolate? Is it a new book you start reading? Whatever it is, think of it as The Event of The Day. Make it unique and don’t miss it.
I remember years ago when I lived alone and felt like I’m the only single person around. Everyone had someone to go home to, someone was waiting for them.
I decided to take salsa lessons. I preferred to fill the time with some activity then staying home and feel the pain.
And that was one of the right decisions of my life. It turned out, I loved salsa and enjoyed it so much that after my lesson was over, I often stayed for the next one as well. Just dancing a few hours weekly made me very happy. And, the fact that I lived alone actually gave me the freedom to stay as long as I wanted in the salsa club. Looks like loneliness could have its benefits as well.
We often think no one cares about us.
We wait for people to call us and ask us how we feel. We crave for attention when we feel down, and there’s nothing better than to receive a caring phone call in that very moment.
But most days – it doesn’t happen.
That’s why instead of waiting for someone to call me, I often pick the phone and call my friends. And I ask them how they are, what they’re doing. Sometimes they need my help more than I need theirs. Sometimes just a little chat brings back the smile on my face. Sometimes none of that happens. But anyway, make that call and try it today.
One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself is to start keeping a gratitude journal.
Back in my worst days of depression and loneliness, I would stay up late at night, staring at the blank page, wondering is there anything at all to be grateful for?
Sometimes I would be grateful I didn’t spend the whole day crying. Sometimes, I would be grateful I managed to smile once or twice during the day… Everything that would make a difference in my life, I would write it down.
With the time it becomes easier and easier to count your blessings. Try it for a few weeks, not days. See for yourself.
Have you noticed that the more “sociable” we are, the more depression and loneliness attack us?
Leave the social media for a while.
You don’t need to see how everyone else is having the time of their life (by the way, most cases – they don’t).
You don’t need to increase the gap between your depression and loneliness, and the rest of the world’s current craziness.
Leave the online world and see what the real world around you, offers. Which could be one of the next things…
If you live in a mess, you cannot find your inner peace and feel good. Neither you could fight depression and loneliness.
If your room, flat or house is messy – fix it. Clean the dust, hover and put everything on its place in the outer world. And then see how much better you feel within yourself.
Often, that’s the only thing I have to do to brighten my day.
A while ago I went through a magical book which explains a lot how a clean space could save your sanity and change your life: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Mari Kondo. If you have a few minutes, have a look at it, it helps.
… with the music on.
Try a new recipe, challenge your skills, show self-care.
The most common thing when we suffer from depression and loneliness is the lack of self-care.
Have you noticed that in those days you don’t care how you look, what and when you eat? It’s like you don’t care for yourself…!
Well, how would you feel if you reverse this? Try it today! Treat yourself with something fresh, tasty and new. See how far can you go to please your tummy.
Just saying that gives me peace and I promise, you’ll feel better if you have the opportunity to do it.
Choose your favourite book and go out in the park. Find a bench under a massive old tree and sit there. No matter if you will read the book, or you’ll watch the nature. Take a few deep breaths and stay present, at the moment. You and I both know, that even 20 minutes away from these feelings is a blessing.
Keeping close the idea to look forward to something is to plan the nearest period of time with exciting things.
Schedule dinner with a friend, plan to do your budget, decide when you will go shopping, do research on the nearest yoga/dance classes. Visit a life-planning website and wander around for inspiration.
Try it for a week or two and see how you feel. Once you stick to the plan, the feeling you achieve something every day will help you get out of the depression and loneliness.
Now is the perfect time to find a new hobby.
It’s not because you are alone (you could feel depression and loneliness even if you’re married with five kids). But chosing a hobby at this moment would give you the possibility to stick with something that relaxes your mind and keeps you busy.
For example, I found out that creating small plates from air dry clay gives me so much joy that I made it almost a daily practise.
Tell me what’s yours?
I bet you didn’t expect this one.
However, if you are in a good relationship with your parents and they understand you, call them. You don’t have to worry them with every little detail around your depression and loneliness. Just spend a few minutes with them on the phone or visit them for a day or two.
Do you remember, when you were a little kid, and you hit yourself somewhere, your mom or dad would always soothe your pain?
After we grow up, we tend to forget that they are still the same people, wanting to soothe us and give us moments of care. This is what makes them happy. Allow yourself to be a child of your parents for at least a few minutes this week.
You have friends you didn’t call for a while, do you? Now is the time to call them.
Sure, it might be a little bit weird, and talking about your problems is out of the equation. However, telling someone you thought about them and just checking how their life goes, will add difference to your day.
Who knows, you might reconnect with them and find out it was the best decision ever.
I enjoy watching TED Talks. Not all of them, of course. I tend to be very picky what I give my time to.
And although I am very picky with them, there are plenty of 10-20 minutes talks that could cheer you up, change your perception of the world or inspire you to smile… at least for today.
If you haven’t noticed yet – I spend my life writing and reading. No wonder, one of my favourite TED Talks is Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk from 2009. If you’re not aware who she is, I could only tell you “Eat, Pray, Love”. It’s one of my favourite books ever, and the best part is that it’s better than the movie (in my opinion).
If you haven’t read it (and you just watched the movie), it’s a must-read for your depression and loneliness situation. You will feel the connection with the author immediately as she goes through the exact same emotions (and many pills) like you and me.
Here’s a video from her TED Talk to enjoy:
When depression and loneliness rule your world, it often means you have lots of time to worry and overthink.
Cut the chain and shift your perception.
Instead of spending hours to explore your anxiety and depression, to feel sorry for yourself and hate your life (been there, done all that), use this time to change your mentality.
You could read spiritual books, start meditating, keep a journal, meeting new people and exploring new hobbies.
The point is to move from where you are towards something you’d want to be. You could still feel miserable and disappointed but do that step anyway. Keep walking until you find your place.
A new language expands your knowledge of different culture, it meets you with a whole new world, gives you the opportunity to even live in another country.
Who knows, learning how to order a sandwich in France could lead you on a trip there and finding a flat few blocks away from the Eiffel Tower (just saying… I like dreaming).
Sounds weird? I call this technique “fake it till you feel it”.
Go online, find an image of an activity you really enjoy – like walking through the meadows, writing a letter, hugging a large cup of blissfully smelling hot chocolate, etc. And then recreate this image with yourself in it.
I mean, do it as a project! Go out, find a similar large cup and do this hot chocolate. Find a meadow and lose yourself there, write an actual letter to a friend or family member (maybe even to yourself?). Fake it until you feel it. Believe me, it helps!
Ok, I know your eyebrow is in a sceptical position right now, but give me a chance. If you still read this article, there’s something you like about my methods, right? It might be the stupidity in them, or they might sound appealing to you. However, I’m happy you’re here.
Now, when I say dance weird around the house, I mean Dance in the Weirdest possible way you could imagine (like facebook-viral-video-worthy). Think of the stupidest moves that could exist, the craziest position of your body on the worst possible song. Get to the bottom of this ridiculous idea and then tell me how you feel.
If you smile – I’ve done my job. If you feel even worst – I’ve at least showed there’s worst in this world. 🙂
Think about business. Depression and loneliness could be your best stimulation to do something different with your life. They might be around you so you could make a change.
As I said above, you might have some spear time. Use it for something that could build you a better life. Start a blog, open an Etsy shop, organise a garage sale at the end of the week, create a course on something you are really good at.
I would do this if I felt like the day is going terrible.
I take a shower with aroma bombs (yes, they exist for shower-lovers too) and I will go straight to the bed to feel warm and miserable in peace. I usually end up sleeping, and I wake up refreshed and feeling less depressed.
Incredibly relaxing and soothing experience. Even if you have to go to work and cannot allow yourself to stay home and feel bad, book a massage at the end of the day. I guarantee you will go back home happier than you left in the morning.
Is it going to be a computer skill? Will you finally learn how to cook Mexican food? Maybe you have something else on mind… It doesn’t matter, develop a new skill that will give you the joy you need at this moment.
Oh, I’ve always had regrets doing this one.
To list 10 things I love about myself is exhausting and honestly tricky. Especially when depression and loneliness rule my world.
However, it is beneficial to find these little traits that deserve to be mentioned as your qualities. You might struggle for a while, but I am sure after a few weeks of practising this exercise every day you will be more in love with yourself than when you started it.
Have you ever noticed that the people who suffer from depression and loneliness are more creative than the others? They are (We are) more sensitive and tend to see and describe things, feelings, situations better.
Find your creativity!
I love writing, and it always saves me when I feel depressed and unwell. I wrote this short story on one of my miserable days.
What is yours? Do you enjoy music? Do you draw or maybe hand make something? Share your talent.
A helpful app if you struggle to create relationship around you. Find a group of people with similar interests around you and go to meet up with them. You could find out you are not as lonely as you thought you were.
I said it before, and I will repeat myself – the simple acts of care are the best remedy for depression and loneliness.
Helping the others, we help ourselves.
Volunteer in the local community centre chose an activity that matches your time and interests. Help someone out there, and you will feel more abundant than ever.
This statement comes at the end as I know you’ve heard it before.
What you feel is normal and shouldn’t bring an extra feeling of guilt into you. Don’t judge yourself and don’t think you are different and no one else understands you. Actually, you will be surprised to know that most people around you feel the same way. They hide it, just like you. Experience everything and then let it go.
Realise the difference between alone (which might mean “bored” as well) and lonely (which could mean “need help” as well).
Also, it’s time to understand that when you feel depressed, that means you are stuck in the past.
On the other hand anxiety comes when you worry about the future.
None of them happens now.
The past is gone, the future is yet to come. Losing yourself in these emotions stops TODAY from happening. Stay focused on NOW and actively remind yourself how you feel right now, in this very moment.
Ok, I know I said to live in the now. But if that’s an issue and doesn’t help, you have to be flexible, right?
I love to go through old memory boxes, photo albums and old videos. It helps so much to go through them as the emotions you felt back then are still alive an live in you. Give them a chance to be reborn. Today.
A few weeks ago I was just scanning through my phone’s videos’ section and saw a video my fiancee did last year on the seaside. It was a short, one minute video of the sunrise. I had forgotten we woke up one morning way too early and went to the beach to watch the sunrise.
The sound of the waves, the wind, the blue and the orange, our sleepy faces… That short video made my day.
I know you have a memory that stays there in the box or on your phone and waits for you to go through it again. Do it now.
There’s a possibility your depression and loneliness are present in your life because of something that happened to you or something you did in the past.
Forgive yourself for whatever it is. Nothing’s worth to steal from your happiness today. It takes time though.
I still work on this part, but I’m getting where I want to be step by step and never lose hope. Depression is a just a moment in my life. I won’t allow it to stick for too long.
You might feel sick with my suggestions to look after someone else when you are the person who needs care.
However, consider joining the More Love Letters club. It’s a beautiful community to create better moments and give hope to people who need it.
Food for our body and food for our mind – these are the most important tasks we have every day.
Visit a temple, a church or any other spiritual place that answers your beliefs. Feeling closer to God is so powerful and clears the mind. It soothes you and creates light feeling of oneness with something bigger and better.
One of my favourite things to do is to play with my niece. She’s almost 6 years old and has this fantastic charging energy, big honest eyes and charming smile. Spending time with her is a blessing I always try to enjoy the most.
Do you have friends with children? Visit them and this time don’t refuse their child’s invitation to chase around, to play cards (by their rules) and to brush dolls’ hair.
It’ simple and yet, its meaning could be significant and mainly symbolic.
Plant a flower and name it Happiness. Water it often enough and watch it grow. Your Happiness grows. Do you see what I mean?
Order a large cappuccino, pick the best possible table and spend a half hour just watching the people on the street.
How do they look like? What do they wear? Are they happy? Think of stories about them and create a happy ending for them. People watching is taking the focus out of your world and shifting it on someone or something else. It helps!
I am not aware when you read this post. Could be the end of January. However, it’s never too early for a Christmas shopping. (Plus, it’s the middle of September when I write this)
You usually know how many people you have to buy gifts to. Go out and spend some money on their Christmas gifts. It’s a fun activity that will save your budget when December comes.
Is Christmas too far away? Pick another holiday. Or find who has Birthday soon enough and buy them a gift.
Share with me how you fight with depression and loneliness.
I would love to hear new ways to beat them.
Also, feel free to ask me anything, I always enjoy readers’ emails with such pleasure. Consider subscribing to our blog so you could find out when I post more valuable content on it.
Find Love! Hold Love! Be Love!