How do I accept being single and lonely?

Many singles struggle with feelings of loneliness, especially when they see couples displaying affection. Developing close relationships with family and friends can help, as can participating in community events and joining clubs or groups that share interests.

Texting and social media are okay, but in-person time is best for building close bonds and decreasing loneliness.

1. Focus on yourself

You have a lot more time to take care of yourself when you’re single, from eating well and exercising to practicing self-care. This is a great opportunity to focus on yourself and really get to know your likes and dislikes, and to work on any areas that might need improving.

It’s also important to remember that you are not half a person and that you can be happy on your own. Putting yourself in relationships just because you fear being alone can be dangerous, as it will only force you to settle for someone who doesn’t make you happy.

Instead, start focusing on who you are and what you enjoy. This will help you realize that you can be happy without a partner and will also prepare you for your next relationship, should one ever come along.

2. Take care of yourself

Even if you are surrounded by loved ones who are supportive of your relationship status, sometimes it’s healthy to be alone. This gives you time to focus on your needs and work toward things that have been bothering you, whether that be getting more sleep, being kinder to yourself, or improving your social skills.

You can also use your newfound freedom to try activities that you may not have gotten around to in your last relationship, like taking a painting course, joining a recreational sports league, or trying out your side hustle. This will help you build social connections that can provide the same emotional support as a partner.

Remember that you can still get plenty of human connection without being in a relationship, by focusing on the positive things about your life (your job, friends, car, food on the table, etc). This will radiate positivity into the world and others will pick up on it.

3. Get out of the house

Whether you’re single or not, it’s important to socialize in healthy ways. Rather than watching TV or hanging out with friends alone, find ways to make connections in your community. This could be by volunteering, running, or participating in city council meetings.

Loneliness can be a natural reaction to the end of a relationship or the loss of a close friend, but it can also be an opportunity to connect with others in a new way. Find ways to turn your solo hobbies into social activities by joining a book club, hiking group, or pottery class.

It can be hard to remember that being single is not the end of the world. However, the truth is that being single gives you more time to focus on your relationships, pursue your goals, and become a well-rounded person.

4. Meet new people

Sometimes, single people feel like their loneliness is caused by the fact that they’re not in a relationship. This is a common perception among both married and unmarried people, but it is not necessarily true. Harsh self-criticism is usually based on distorted thinking, and it’s important to challenge those thoughts and focus on your current situation.

While it can be frustrating to see everyone you know smooch and kiss at weddings, being single is a great time to deepen relationships with friends and family, pursue professional goals, or get to know yourself on a deeper level. Remember that no one person can complete you, but if you meet someone, it should only enhance your life. Licensed mental health counselor Anne Posey, LMHC, NCC shares some more tips on how to accept being single and lonely.

5. Do things you enjoy

When you feel lonely, try immersing yourself in activities that bring you joy. You might sign up for a yoga class or start taking painting courses, or you might try out a new sport to get some exercise and social interaction.

Getting involved in volunteer work can also help you to find meaning in life and distract you from the desire to be in a relationship. You can give back to your community by caring for animals at a shelter, or you can help raise awareness about an issue that is important to you.

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, it is possible to find happiness. But you must change how you think about loneliness to overcome it. And to do that, you need to take control of your anxiety.