Feeling Lonely and How to Deal…
If you have ever felt lonely, out of place or misdirected … like the walls are closing in on you … you are not alone. Or maybe you’re experiencing conflicting inner emotions of how and what you “should” feel … again, you are not alone.
Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans suffers from persistent loneliness. Ironically, while this digital age helps us stay more connected than ever before, social media may actually be exacerbating the problem.
A new wave of research concludes that long periods of loneliness can significantly raise the risk of a number of physical and psychological health problems, including heart disease and depression.
Here’s the truth and my confession. With my bouts of OCD anxiety spiking, waxing & waning and on top of that with dealing with my abandonment issues through the trauma of losing my mom at such a young age and my blood family living overseas (and all not necessarily fitting the “family” bill) … I have been battling this feeling for a long time. It’s not always present, but it comes and goes, holidays can be difficult, and obviously social media can magnify it. Certainly causing some moments of difficulty.
I’m not alone in this feeling. And you aren’t either. I promise. It’s even probable that MORE than 20% of Americans from the research feel this way to some degree or another. Or it taking different forms and cycling within different seasons.
From identity issues, comparison games, keeping up with the joneses syndrome … to being in an abusive relationship (whether emotional of physical), anxiety/depression issues, trauma, lack of self-love … and shall I even say spiritual voids … these are all situations that can cause a great deal of pain, which can result in feelings of loneliness.
But it doesn’t have to be permanent. I’m not talking about the once in a while feelings of loneliness … I’m referring to the DEEP, long-term feelings that can cause some serious self-esteem and isolation issues. We are human and we are built for CONNECTION, so it’s crucial for our souls to either reconnect or finally feel connection with others.
Here’s some ways to help you get break the loneliness walls around you so you can START working towards healing the real issue and replacing any voids with joy.
- Accept your feeling and allow for it.
Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly. The only way for true, long-term change is to allow yourself to feel the feeling. If you are courageous and open up about your lonely feelings to someone close they’ll often times respond with “you shouldn’t feel that way because XYZ.” We have heard that type of response, and I’m sure we’ve also given it. It’s all with a good heart, because when people hear you are in pain – especially those who love us – they want to help and remind us of the good. However, there’s something else usually going on DEEPER and you have every right to feel the way you feel – even if you don’t want to feel that way. By accepting it as your current situation and allowing yourself to feel it can better prepare you to be WILLING to take the appropriate steps to allow change and healing.
- Realize that loneliness is a feeling, not a fact.
Feeling lonely and being alone are two different things. Usually when you are feeling lonely, it is because something has triggered a certain memory that causes that feeling, not because you are isolated or alone. Our brains are powerful, and one defensive mechanism is for the the brain to pay attention to pain and danger, which includes painful scary feelings, and lonlineless is one of them. So even if we don’t believe it at the moment, remind yourself it’s a feeling, not fact.
- Determine the true reason behind that feeling.
Now that you’ve allowed yourself to feel it and then realized it’s not a fact but just a feeling … it’s important to determine the cause. Is it a memory from the past during a holiday season, are you comparing yourself to others, are you avoiding something, are you needing to work on your boundaries? The list can go on, but it’s important to start taking some time out and going inward. Be patient, because your answer won’t always just jump out in front of you. You can identify the reason within days … and sometimes depending on the wound can take months.
- Reach out to someone.
Loneliness can not only be painful, but can also confuse you into thinking that you are a loser, or even an outcast. The more you isolate yourself, the more you will react with withdrawal and go into a “black hole.” That’s definitely not helpful. At its best, anticipation of loneliness (being proactive) might motivate us to reach out and cultivate friendships, which is the healthiest thing to do if you are sad and alone.
- Pay attention to your self deflating thoughts.
The way we talk to ourselves has MORE power than we really realize. Habitual negative assumptions (lies) about our lives, social status and self worth can be detrimental to our spirit. Because you are looking for “evidence” that you and the world sucks. That will definitely be a cause to stay in the black hole. So be alert on how you speak to yourself because thoughts become your “reality.”
- Make a plan!
If you realize you are dealing with an emotional habit, you can make a plan to deal with loneliness. Create little stepping stones to get you out of that black hole. Since healthy interaction with trusting and positive friends/family is good, make some effort and INITIATE conversation and connection – even when you don’t “feel” like it. Journal. Start exercising. Meditate. Read a book to help you with the real reason you’re feeling what you’re feeling. Yes, it is work, but it is SO worth it. Just like working out is worthwhile even when you are feeling tired or lazy.
And if you are dealing with clinical anxiety or depression it’s super important to get assistance from a therapist. I have been for OCD and I wouldn’t have been so successful in managing it without it. Therapy is SO NOT taboo. You’re actually more brave for doing it than the person who doesn’t. Because you’re willing to FACE your fears and problems and GROW. That takes COURAGE!
In fact, I think every single p
erson in this world should go to therapy for one reason or another. The world would be a better place! 🙏💕
I wanted to share my heart with you … because sometimes our journeys while growing – whether that’s working on our fitness, working on our hearts/souls, going back to school, working on our marriages, starting our own business – can feel like a lonely one. Especially as you uncover YOUR deep layers in the process.
Would love to hear your perspective on this!
When it comes to health and fitness, there is SO MUCH conflicting information out there.
And most of this conflicting info is really a myth or fad. You’ve heard them from your friends, magazine headlines … or even on popular TV shows. From the magic “lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes” pill, to the shake weight to the spot reductions … I can go on and on. Unfortunately, people are always engaging in the quick fix solutions, which ultimately create wishful thinking that someone can transform their body with very minimal effort.
So let’s debunk some of these myths and quick fixes, shall we!
Myth #1: Lifting Weights Bulk You Up
Ugh. I used to be one who believed this. This myth is especially a fear-factor among women. First, most women don’t have the testosterone levels men do!!! The truth of the matter is that resistance training is essential for toning our bodies. Do you think Jennifer Aniston looks bulky? What about Maria Menuenos? Nope! They look amazing, right?! To get a tight, toned body we need to use weights. For us to bulk up, it requires CRAZY INTENSE training (and supplements) that overload the muscles … most people won’t do this. So GO LIFT my friends! 🙂
Myth #2: The Scale Increasing = Getting Fatter
Well, this depends if the pounds are coming from fat or muscle. This also ties in with myth #1 above. The main difference between fat and muscle is density. A pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat. So as you’re losing fat and gaining muscle your body composition is changing and it’s possible to become leaner and healthier while at the same time gain weight. This is why I don’t allow the scale to rule over me. It’s just ONE tool to guide me through my journey. My favorite tools are the tape measure and taking photos. I’d rather lose inches than weight!
Myth #3: Spot Reducing is Possible
You can do crunches all day long, but if you have a higher percentage of body fat, guess what your abs will be covered with? Yup … you guessed it: fat. Unfortunately, we don’t get to pick one body part or the other — otherwise we’ll all be running around with flat stomachs and amazing legs, right? If you want to get nice abs, or get rid of saddle bags, you have to FIRST reduce your overall body fat, which means plenty of cardio, coupled with resistance training for best results.
Myth #4: Lots and Lots and Lots of Cardio … is the Best Way to Lose Fat
Some people (especially women) do cardio for as long as 90 minutes or longer. The problem with this strategy is it’s completely ineffective and a real time waster.
Generally speaking, the harder you work, the more fat you burn. But, before you can work at those intense levels you have to build it up, progressively. Unless you’re training for something specific, like a marathon, I wouldn’t do cardio for more than 60 minutes. I actually prefer staying at around 30-45 minutes, pick up my pace and intensity so I knock it out and also have time for my resistance training!
The shorter, more-intense sessions burn more overall calories and preserve muscle, which will make you look tight and lean when you get to your scale weight goal. Who doesn’t want that?
Myth #5: Stretching BEFORE Exercise Improves Performance
The need for stretching is very individual, but stretching before a workout actually doesn’t really increase range of motion. Some studies even suggest that stretching destabilizes muscles, making them less prepared for strenuous exercise. Instead, do a warm-up to get your blood pumping and keep the stretching for after your workout where your muscles are warmed up and more receptive to lengthening.
Myth #6: You Can Eat Whatever You Want as Long as You Exercise
Why workout to eat? Think about that question. If you’re not changing your eating habits, then all you’re doing is working out to eat (more). You’re not seeing real results.
Our metabolism determines how many calories we burn at rest and while we exercise. But if we eat more than we burn on a regular basis, our bodies will store these extra calories as fat no matter how much we’re exercising.
A slight caloric deficit (less than maintenance) must be adhered to, as well as eating small healthy meals and snacks every two to three hours. This helps to control blood sugar, which in turn helps you lose fat.
Myth #7: Eating Less – Or Going on a Crash Diet – Will Get You Results
This myth is the stark opposite of #6. And this frame of mind became really popular in the 1980s. Some of the fads of this decade have even made a sneaky comeback in the 21st century.
With these crazy, unhealthy crash diets, like the grapefruit diet, people do lose weight, but it really means they’re losing muscle and fat. They assumed just eating less would take care of everything. But,they typically gain all the weight back … and more in many cases. Crash diets are not only nutritionally dangerous, but they also never teach people how to break bad habits and create new, healthy ones!
Today, we know total calories are important, but even more important are the amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fats in the diet.
Myth #8: If You Don’t Sweat, You’re Not Getting a Good Workout
Sweat isn’t only determined by how hard you’re working out … it’s also based on your genes. Sweat is the body’s way to regulate body temperature. Some of us just run hotter than others. So don’t judge your workout merely on how much you’re sweating. This can also be true for soreness. Some people just get more sore than others.
Myth #9: Gluten-Free Diets Help You Lose Weight
Unless you have celiac disease or have an allergy to gluten, you don’t need to have a gluten-free diet.
There are many natural foods that are already gluten free like veggies, fruits, sweet potatoes, fish. So don’t start buying a bunch of processed foods and desserts just because it says “gluten-free” on the box. They won’t help you to lose weight. And again, if you don’t have a gluten intolerance, don’t entertain this diet in the first place. Why go through the hassle.
Myth #10: Carbs Make You Fat
I’m SO HAPPY this is a myth. I love my carbs! But I’m talking about the good carbs like quinoa, beans/legume, fruits and veggies. The “bad” carbs have too many empty calories and can make you feel fat and fluffy such as white bread, white pasta, cake and cookies.
Healthy carbs are a must. They give you energy and nutrients. Do watch your portions, but don’t cut them out!
The best success stories arrive in the most unexpected ways!
One of my December challengers was struggling with being consistent with her exercise due to a variety of things from some personal matters and a VERY hectic work schedule … on top of it being the holidays. The challenge was an opportunity for her to FOCUS and get back on track. Working out to ChaLEAN Extreme and drinking Shakeology every day, I followed up with her progress within our challenge Facebook group along with private messages. About mid-way through the 30-day challenge she she shared with me that she had Crohn’s Disease and Shakeology was giving her RELIEF and CONTROL like nothing else had before. I was stunned and very excited and asked if I could share her story on my blog.
You know what she told me, “Yes. Absolutely! This was no info the Dr’s could ever provide me so if it can help someone else then I am all for it!”
I’m SO HAPPY for her … and when Kelli emailed me her story, it brought happy tears to my eyes! I’m absolutely thrilled that she’s been able to receive help in way she never imagined!
So here’s Kelli’s story – directly from her!
“I began experiencing stomach irregularities and knew something about me was different then anyone else was around 7th grade. Every doctor I went to tested me for anemia, low blood sugar, thyroid issues, diabetes, and the regular string of blood tests. I was very underweight for my age but ate very normal. Every doctor said it had to be low blood sugar and passed it of as “I would grow out of it.” Around 11th and 12th grade I starting missing more school because I always felt sick, and was finally referred to a Gastroenterologist.
I went through every test known for upper GI, lower GI, and tests for my colon. No doctor could give me an exact diagnosis, but deferred it as Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS). Still unsatisfied, I got a second and third opinion. I had documented my symptoms in a diary by time each and every day and documented what I ate. The third and last Gastroenterologist pulled my Mom aside after reviewing my file and all my tests and recommended I see a psychiatrist, as he felt that my symptoms couldn’t be diagnosed so my symptoms must be something equal to a psychological issue.
At that point I gave up….for five years. My stomach controlled my life. I missed parties, couldn’t eat the same foods as everyone else, experience extreme irregularity, and at the same time, I worked out 6 days a week as a college athlete and ate very healthy. In many circumstances, this could control IBS symptoms. Yet, nothing got better. I struggled through 4 years of multitasking 5am workouts, 18 credit hours, and working 30 hours a week. Yet, nothing got better.
I moved to Florida from Michigan for graduate school and decided to give it one more shot. I did a lot of reading on Crohn’s and knew medicine had advanced in the last five years. The first Gastroenterologist I went to, now knowing that during the appointment I was experiencing a ‘flair up’ was quickly able to diagnose me. Up until 2 months ago, I took my medicine to control my disease, but just could not gain remission.
I met Vanessa through a Bootcamp class, that up until now, I would not know how impactful this avenue would be. I recently joined a small group run by Beachbody Coach Vanessa and I started the ChaLean Extreme challenge that included a product drank daily called Shakeology. After two weeks I noticed immediate results. I was regular, not getting sick as frequently, and finally starting to control my Crohn’s without it controlling me. After four weeks, I can’t start my day without it and am finally feeling like there is hope at the end of the tunnel. With my medicine, ShakeO, and living a healthy lifestyle, I am finally in control.”
You got 5 minutes?
Here are 5 moves, 1 minute each, that help spice up your current workout regimen by sprinkling it in OR by repeating each set 3-4x to make it a full 15-20 minute workout! Oh — and no equipment needed so you CAN do this during on your next vacation and/or during the holidays! [yeah I said that ;-)]
Watch the video and/or see my notes below. Enjoy!
1) Knee to Nose – start in plank position with your hands directly below your shoulders and bring your right knee in while you bring your nose toward it. Repeat left to complete 1 rep.
2) Mountain Climbers – right from plank position from move #1 run the knees into the chest while keeping the butt down and abs in tight.
3) Alternating Forward Lunges – come forward with your right leg making sure the knee stays behind the toes, go as deep as possible and push off from the heal to bring feet together. Repeat on left for one rep.
4) Star Plank – start in high plank then rotate to right side plank and lift the top leg as high as possible while keeping the hip lifted. Return to regular plank and repeat on left side for one rep. Modification = while in side plank drop the bottom knee to the floor/mat.
5) Lateral Side Shuffles – shuffle to the right and lunge down with left hand on thigh while right hand reaches for the floor. Repeat left to complete 1 rep. >>Tip: keep your head up and looking forward (instead of down) to avoid getting dizzy.
>>> If you decide to try this let me know how it goes by commenting below 🙂