Loneliness in Winter

Winter comes with a harsh beauty and uncompromising finality.

When daylight seems to disappear so quickly into the cold night, it’s not surprising to experience feelings of sadness or loneliness. And if you are grieving the loss of a loved one, getting through the winter season can be especially difficult.

5 Ways to Combat Loneliness and Grief

When it gets chilly and you find yourself yearning for more light, warmth, or just a little more happiness, here are 5 ways to get what you need:

1) Say Yes
It can be tough to get motivated when you’re grieving. Give yourself a different perspective by saying “yes” to requests made of your time. At first, it may seem scary to say yes to unfamiliar things but don’t be afraid – open yourself up to new opportunities and soon life will seem more abundant and less lonely.

2) Walk a dog
Therapy dogs are trained to provide comfort and companionship to bereaved people, and studies have shown that interacting with dogs can have positive health effects. If you’re not a dog person, don’t worry – other animals (such as horses, rabbits, and cats) can also be an outlet for stress and anxiety. Children especially respond well to therapy animals, finding it easier to talk about their feelings when the animal is present. So when you feel gloomy, consider the physical and emotional benefits that come from socializing with animals – even just an hour of play with a pet can feel like a ray of sunshine on a wintry day.

3) Call a friend
Some people avoid talking with family members and friends about grief because they don’t think others can understand their pain. But sometimes all you need is someone willing to listen, and calling people you haven’t talked to recently can go a long way to helping you reconnect when you’re feeling alone and strengthen personal relationships. When getting together in person doesn’t feel safe, pick up the phone and be social. It always helps to talk things out!

4) Learn a new skill
Sign up for a virtual cooking class, join a hiking club, or learn how to play chess. New hobby prospects are endless – just pick an activity that is sure to change your routine and make you engage with other people in person or online. And once you get involved in your new hobby, stick with it! Add a personal challenge or set a goal to ensure you don’t give up after the first week.

5) Give of yourself
Volunteering makes a difference in your life and in the lives of others. It’s also a great way to honor the loss of a loved one by giving back to a cause they were involved in or supported passionately. Donating your time and talents can get you out of the house, get you energized, and give you a chance to meet and serve others. These 3 things alone are easy ways to combat grief and loneliness and simple to put into action. Check online with local organizations to find volunteer opportunities in our area. Let us know if you’d like a recommendation for a place to give back!

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