How to Be Happy Despite Solitude

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

There are a number of reasons one may find their self living in solitude, from being shipwrecked on an island, to taking a job in a remote location. Whereas there are many ways to alleviate a night or even a week being alone, solitude is associated with long-term isolation and is more difficult to address. Sometimes life leaves us with no one around to share conversation and comfort, but that doesn't mean one must exist unhappily, if one is able to adjust to the situation.

Look at the reason for the situation which puts you in solitude, and do not give up finding a solution which allows you to return to a life among people. One such circumstance is Agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces, which can literally render a person unable to leave the confines of their own home, effectively creating a solitary life. Others are what are known as the "shut in", who because of medical or physical conditions are unable to go out even to the local market or local church. These may be able to benefit from medical help and social services, but there is still some amount of solitude to be dealt with.
Find hobbies and pursue them. These may not be suitable for every situation, but with the host of possibilities, there may be some that will help fill hours with enjoyable activities. Learning to knit, sew, crotchet, or macrame are crafts that can fill hours productively, as can painting, drawing, or writing.
Listen to music. Music has long been recognized as a medium to give emotional boosts when a person is in a dark or gloomy mood, and with the many sources which music can be accessed, from online, to radio and satellite, there is unlimited selection almost anywhere on the globe. Find a genre of music that suits your taste, and don't just listen to it, but learn it, emerse yourself into it.
Read. This is the obvious, and with a good novel, you may be alone in the room, but you can feel yourself transported to strange and wonderful worlds beyond imagination, filling hours upon hours with adventures. If you are not able to read, there are thousands of titles available on audio books, and they can be delivered by mail either from retail sources, or from exchanges, a much less expensive option.
Subscribe to periodicals that focus on topics you are interested in. There are dozens available for most topics, from gardening to fishing, crafts, to travel. There are also lots of "E-zines" online, many of which are free to the user.
Visit chat rooms, discussion groups, or other internet sites that interest you. You may find hundreds of friends who share your circumstance, and many close friendships develop between people who will never meet in person, living thousands of miles apart.
Write in a journal. This may appear to be a way of talking to yourself on the surface, but then, you can do that, if you are living in solitude anyway. Writing your ideas, thoughts, and feelings in a journal will keep you verbal when there is no one else around to talk to, and going back and reading what you have written is a way of looking at yourself from a different vantage point, helping to give you a broader perspective on what you are thinking at any particular time.
Keep your resources and daily needs accounted for. Solitary living means not having anyone else to turn to if your resources fail, and no one to borrow basic supplies like food and toiletries from in the event you run out.
Consider a pet if you are able to maintain one. Depending on the cause and nature of your solitude, you may not have access to veterinary care and food for a large dog or other conventional pet, but there are other options that may have simpler upkeep. If you are unable to care for a pet at all, you may still be able to feed wildlife or birds in your situation, and watching these can give some solace to your solitude.
Exercise if you do not have enough normal activity to keep your strength and health up. Make a regimen of regular exercise a part of your daily life, within your ability and the resources available to you. Unless you are bedridden or some other way impaired, you should at least be able to do some stretches, perhaps sit-ups, walking, or riding a stationary bike.
Look after yourself. Keeping your grooming and hygiene at a good level will help your self esteem, and thereby increase your level of happiness. Dress as well as you are able, brush your hair and teeth twice daily, and pamper yourself in other ways you may think of.
Eat healthy foods. Being alone offers the temptation of eating whatever you like, when you like, since there is little in the way of accountability. That is no reason to neglect yourself by poor diet. If cooking meals seems like too much trouble for one, then only cook occasionally, freezing portions for later use. Keep what ever fresh fruits and vegetables you have access to around for snacks, and treat yourself to these as often as you like.
Watch television. This is an obvious outlet for relief from being alone, but even in this technological age, it is not available everywhere, or to everyone, and it is not a cure-all in itself. Still, there are movies, sports, news, and all manner of entertainment where there is access to it, and if you have electrical power, you may at least be able to watch movies on DVD or other media if broadcast television does not exist where you are.

Keep a regular schedule. Go to bed at a regular time, and wake at a regular time, to help keep your body in "tune" with natural cycles of sleep and waking.
Keep your environment neat and pleasing to your eye. Keep rooms brightly lit when you are in them.
Keep windows open for lots of fresh air if the weather is cooperative and you are indoors for extended periods for whatever reason, and even if the weather is not suitable for this, keep the curtains open and the shades up to let lots of natural light in.

Living in solitude means being resourceful, you must keep some contact with the "outside" world in the event you require help in an emergency.


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