How to Be Alone but not Lonely

Posted October 22, 2021

A well dressed woman walks alone down a bridge on an overcast day as Mental Health Services explains how to spend your alone time and not feel lonely

There are times in life when you will have to spend more time on your own, without a partner, your children, other relatives, or friends nearby. Sometimes, you may find yourself alone after a spouse’s death, a pet’s passing, the end of a relationship, or your children going off to college or work. Or maybe you recently relocated to a new city and live alone for the first time in your life.

Feeling alone during some of life’s most challenging transitions is normal. The key to spending time alone in a healthy way is to focus on positive habits and emphasize self-care. It’s possible to be alone without experiencing loneliness. At Mental Health Systems, providers can work with clients in the Apple Valley, MN area to help reframe those time periods of being alone.

How To Be Alone and Not Feel Lonely

In the past two years, the social circle of friends and family members has tightened and closed up. With sporadic quarantines, pandemic shutdowns, more teleworking, and an increase in virtual events, there are more people than ever spending a lot of time alone. For some, this sharp increase in alone time has led to higher levels of stress and feelings of isolation. Adults, teens, and children have all reported more depression symptoms.

As society continues to look towards recovery after the pandemic, the stark reality is that for some, alone time is here to stay. Many workplaces and gathering places have changed permanently in favor of virtual options for sharing ideas and collaborating. Alone time is also pretty standard for empty nesters, widowers, and many elderly people across the country. At MHS in Apple Valley, MN, our approach to alone time is that it’s not about surviving the time you spend by yourself; it’s about thriving.

Thriving during your alone time means focusing on the positive side of having time by yourself. Your alone time can also allow you to develop better habits and practice mindfulness. When you’re feeling alone, you can reframe your attitude and work to combat loneliness or boredom. This is the time to start working on new skills, looking for new creative outlets, exploring your interests, and learning to love and care for yourself.

Signs of Loneliness

If you are often alone, you have to be careful not to confuse the ideas of feeling alone and lonely. Being alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, loneliness can be a sign of a bigger issue or part of some common depression symptoms. A person experiencing loneliness may have insomnia, restlessness, irritability, and a lack of motivation. Being lonely doesn’t always mean you’re physically alone. Some people may be surrounded by friends and loved ones and still struggle with loneliness. MHS in Apple Valley, MN, offers resources and help if you are having difficulty with loneliness.

Activities To Keep You Feeling a Part of Your Surroundings

It’s important to be proactive, so your status of being physically alone doesn’t turn into sadness and loneliness. A great way to take action during your alone time is to take up new activities and hobbies. If you have a lot of extra time in your schedule, aim to fill some of the hours up with your passions and pursuits.

One healthy option is to get outside and try outdoor activities to get more in touch with your surroundings. If you spend all of your time indoors by yourself, you may have more negative thoughts about feeling alone. Instead, opt for a change in your scenery by taking walks regularly, buying a bike for exercise, or exploring local parks.

Alone time can also be broken up by pursuing your interests and hobbies. Use this time to develop a new skill, learn a new language, take a class, explore your city, or test out new restaurants and cafes in the Apple Valley, MN area.

It’s Okay To Be Alone, Do Things Alone, and Live Alone

It’s also important to keep in mind that being alone is okay. There’s nothing wrong with spending a lot of time by yourself. Getting used to being alone, doing things by yourself, and living on your own can be an adjustment if you’re used to always being around friends and family.

You also may be able to find some benefits in your new solo status. If you’ve always lived with a family, a partner, or your kids, the first time you live alone may be a little daunting. Eventually, many empty nesters or people living alone for the first time may start to really enjoy it. Living alone means you can decorate your space exactly how you like it. You can come and go as you please, and you don’t have to worry about catering to anyone else’s needs.

Doing things alone may also feel strange at first, but you can gain confidence in your time by yourself over time. Going out to eat by yourself can be liberating as you discover new places and new tastes. Solo travel is another activity that can open up a new world to someone who recently started living independently. Taking a trip on your own can help you learn more about yourself and unique destinations.

It’s Important To Stay Connected to the Outside/People/Neighborhoods

Also, just because you live alone or are an empty nester doesn’t mean you have to spend your time all by yourself. A great way to fend off any potential feelings of loneliness is to build connections with the people and organizations in your neighborhood. Getting a dog is one of the top ways to get yourself out there meeting new people. You and your pup can explore the area’s dog parks and connect with other dog owners in your neighborhood. At home, a new pet provides excellent company to someone living by themselves.

Another way to keep yourself from feeling alone and bored is to work on connecting with more people and rebuilding your social network. Look online for groups and clubs dedicated to your favorite activities and aim to meet up for local in-person events to meet new friends. You can also reach out to potential romantic partners and network with online dating tools.

Take time also to get involved in your community. Consider volunteering for a good cause in your city or town to help those in need. Doing regular volunteer work at the same organization can also help you expand your network of friends and acquaintances. Avoid relying too much on electronic devices to stay connected to friends and family. Instead, opt to talk face to face to those you care about so your bonds stay strong, and your relationships continue to grow.

Reach Out Today

Learning how to be alone and not feel lonely is not something that happens overnight. At Mental Health Systems, we can help you navigate this journey to self-realization during your alone time. We specialize in dialectical behavioral therapy for our clients. Contact us for more information about our services to help you thrive.

 

Image Source: Serkant Hekimci / Shutterstock

Things to Do for Self Care

Posted October 22, 2021

A major factor in a healthy mind and body is your ability to self-regulate and get enough “me time.” One of the best ways you can ensure your mind and psyche stays strong and healthy is to practice self-care for mental health. The term self-care has risen in the ranks lately and has been used frequently by employers, schools, and the media to emphasize mental health and emotional well-being. The team at Mental Health Systems in Apple Valley, MN, has been leading the way in guiding clients to practice self-care. Here, learn about how self-care can help you achieve a more positive outlook and a healthier mind. Find out what things you can do to practice this essential piece of mental health.

Self Care for Mental Health

People all over the world have been feeling the pressure and stress from recent global events. The pandemic, economic strife, wild weather, politics, and violence have all led to high levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and stress for many adults and teens. Many have taken steps to seek mental health treatment from counselors or therapists, and some have started to practice healthier emotional habits in their daily lives with self-care steps.

Children as well have been feeling more pressure and anxiety in recent years. Millions of children embarked on distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic and felt increased levels of panic and distress from the extreme social isolation of quarantine and the shutdowns. Their parents suddenly had to play multiple roles, parent, teacher, counselor, coach, and friend. Additionally, many people stuck inside took solace in their electronic devices and became even more isolated.

At work, the current mental health crisis has also been felt. Employers in white-collar firms have started shifting their primary method of business operations onto a virtual format, eliminating the need for a physical office but also increasing the possibility of their staff’s loneliness. The service industry has felt the crunch of massive worker shortages. Those who still work in restaurants, retail, the airline industry, and education are being stretched thin and having to juggle more responsibilities. In today’s tumultuous world, self-care for mental health is needed more than ever.

So What Is Self Care Exactly?

Self-care is a key part of mental health. Each person is responsible for learning how to put themselves first and maintain a healthy mind, body, and soul. Self-care starts with keeping a healthy physical body by eating wholesome foods, exercising regularly, visiting the doctor each year, and taking care of your dental health. When you’re sick, you practice self-care by resting, taking your medicine, and treating your symptoms. Besides your physical well-being, self-care can also influence your mind’s healthy habits. Self-care for mental health includes practicing mindfulness, taking breaks, recognizing your feelings, and partnering with a professional counselor or provider at places like Mental Health Systems in Apple Valley, MN.

Tips on Self Care for Mental Health Treatments

Several essential parts of self-care can help promote optimal mental health. One big aspect of self-care is getting enough sleep. Many people struggle with falling asleep and staying asleep, especially when stressful situations are going on in life. Focusing on a healthy sleep routine is the first step of self-care.

Another part of self-care is teaching yourself how to relax. There are different ways you can incorporate relaxation into your day. Meditation is a good place to start with short bursts of relaxation in your daily routine. You can also try breathing exercises, yoga, journaling, or relaxation apps to help you develop good practices.

Self-care is also about showing gratitude for the things that are positive in your life. Each day, it’s a good idea to make a short gratitude list, so you never lose focus on what you have. Start with simple things that you enjoy each day, such as the weather, physical space, body, and family. Eventually, your gratitude will spread, and you will have an easier time finding things to be grateful for. Gratitude lists can help you maintain positivity and resilience even in stressful situations.

People who put themselves first and focus on their health also have a healthy social network of quality friends and close family members. It’s beneficial to reach out to others and put yourself in social situations, so you’re not alone. Your relationships with friends, partners, and family should recharge you and make you feel connected to the world. Self-care means you can evaluate some friendships and relationships and walk away from them if they aren’t fulfilling and bringing you joy. It’s also important to eliminate those guilty feelings and thoughts of obligations when it comes to relationships.

It’s also important to prioritize your mental health and consider working with a therapist or counselor for optimal self-care. Professional mental health providers use behavioral therapy tools to help clients notice their mindsets and work to change them for better results at reaching goals. At Mental Health Systems in Apple Valley, MN, the team can teach clients strategies for making and keeping goals and dealing with stress.

After Therapy Sessions – Doing the Homework, Staying Focused, Doing Your Part To Get Healthy

Mental health therapy with a skilled professional is a vital part of self-care that some people are learning to add to their routine. In a typical schedule, you may have a weekly session of an hour with a counselor or therapist to discuss your goals and to create strategies to overcome obstacles.

The work doesn’t stop as soon as your visit is over. In fact, a big part of staying focused and on track with your mental health goals is to continue working on your mental health between visits as homework. This process may look different for each person.

You and your counselor may come up with a plan for your time between visits to help strengthen your mental and emotional health. For some clients, this may look like a set schedule where you step away from caregiver mode and prioritize your self-care for mental health. In other situations, this may be daily journaling or exercising gratitude. When you return to the office for additional sessions with a provider, you can give updates on your progress and your goals.

Get Help Today

Unlocking the keys to self-care and finding the best version of yourself can be challenging if you do it all independently. At Mental Health Systems, our team can walk you through the process and give you the tools to make a solid self-care routine in your life. You can take on new challenges and gain self-confidence in your abilities at work and at home. Contact us for more details about how we can help you achieve your goals and feel more in control of your life.

 

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