Strategies for Overcoming Loneliness

When I was 12, I went to sleep-away camp for a week. I was there with one of my best friends and my little sister, but I was still incredibly homesick. One night, we had tater-tots with dinner and I started crying at the table because my dad loves tater-tots and eating them reminded me of him. Looking back, I find that pretty funny, but at the time it definitely wasn’t. And now I am able to find the humor in the situation because I’ve developed strategies for overcoming loneliness and homesickness that I didn’t have back then.

Strategies for Overcoming Loneliness

I still struggle with homesickness, but these strategies have been incredibly helpful to me, and I hope you find them useful too.

  • Strategies for overcoming loneliness:
    • Find “portable homes”
      • In my life, portable homes are resources that I can take out into the world and turn to when I need to feel comforted and understood. These are some of my favorite portable homes:
        • Books. These are mine, but any of your childhood favorites will probably work.
          • Harry Potter
          • Betsy-Tacy Series
          • Little Women
        • Podcasts. I love finding podcasters that are really caring and nurturing people because I can listen to them whenever I’m out in the world and feeling alone.
        • Blogs. In times of stress, it can be hard for me to connect with my body and know what I need. These blogs provide gentle reminders on living intuitively and taking good care of your body and mind. Plus, all three women’s lovely, hilarious personalities come through in their writing.

    • Take time for yourself
      • This seems a little counterintuitive, but I find that being by myself when I’m feeling homesick or lonely is really helpful. For me, there’s nothing worse than feeling lonely even when I’m with a big group of people, so taking a little time for myself can be so important. Being alone allows me to reconnect with myself, fully experience my emotions, and cry it out if I need to. Then, when I do rejoin the group I feel much more present and connected.

  • Figure out the root cause
    • Growing up, I was ashamed that I cried at summer camps and sometimes got homesick on sleepovers. For a long time, I thought that I wasn’t as brave as my friends or that I was just being a “crybaby.” But in recent years, as I’ve learned more about the way my brain works and the ways my anxiety manifests, I’ve found that these feelings were actually the result of separation anxiety.
    • Knowing this has been so helpful in enabling me to respect my feelings and respond with self care instead of judgement. Obviously, everyone is coming from different places, and my reasons are likely different than yours, but having more knowledge about the origins of our feelings can be really helpful.

I hope you’ll find my strategies for overcoming loneliness useful, and if you have strategies of your own, I’d love to hear about them! Just leave a comment here or connect with me on Instagram, and we can keep the conversation going.

(End of) Summer Reading List

I love summer with every bit of my heart and soul. Summer is lazy 11am breakfast dates with friends in the middle of the week and singing so loud it hurts at concerts in the park. Summer is saltwater up my nose and the conviction that nothing tastes better than a slightly sandy PB&J after a long day at the beach. Summer is light, refreshing, al fresco dinners followed by ice cream cones the size of my face. Summer is my happy-time, and I know I’m not alone. Can we all start a petition for an extra month of summer? I’m not ready for everything to be over yet.

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What summer should be, Exhibit A

During the last few weeks of August, I often find myself torn between the desire to soak up every last second of summer and the need to prepare for the coming school year. Part of me wants to do nothing but lounge in the sun, sleep in, and spend time with family. At the same time, I feel the pressure to buy school supplies, get organized, and prepare for the classes I’ll be starting in the fall.  

Most often, I fail to take action either way and end up lounging by the pool worrying about how I should be taking a math refresher course or getting a head start on an article for journalism. I suppose this is my attempt to find balance, but I’m really just ending up with the worst of both worlds. I’m stressed and distracted, but I’m not actually getting any work done. 

This year, I wanted to make a change. My goal was to find a way to relish the last sun-streaked moments of summer while also easing back into academic-me (a very different person than summer-me). Personally, I think books are a wonderful way to make this transition.

I can’t be the only who reads a multitude of serious, educational books (most often for English class) during the year then binges on romance novels all summer. If it is just a me thing, don’t tell me. Let me live in denial. If I’m not the only one, perhaps we can form a support group. Anyways, I find switching from reading about romance and roses to reading about the policies Franklin Roosevelt can be a bit of a shock to my system.

Therefore, I have compiled a list of a few of my favorite “in-between” books. They are entertaining enough to make them truly enjoyable, while containing sufficient food for thought to help everyone ease back into their slightly more serious-minded, academic selves. Now everyone grab a book, hit the beach, and savor those last few moments of summer!

End of Summer Reading List

Americana By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Where’d You Go Bernadette By Maria Semple

Beauty Queens By Libba Bray

The Miseducation of Cameron Post By Emily M. Danforth

Wuthering Heights By Emily Brontë

The Book Thief By Markus Zusak

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

When the Emperor was Divine By Julie Otsuka

My Beloved World By Sonia Sotomayor

Note: Any of these books would be wonderful choices, and I suggest you look into all of them. To be honest, I tried to provide descriptions but found I could not do these remarkable stories justice. I must admit, however, that I did list them in order of my own personal favorites, so, if in doubt, start at the top.