After three years of being together with my wife (in 24/7, 365 days), this year brought us some surprises and changes we needed to adjust our life to. One of the difficulty was for both of us dealing with loneliness.
Day-by-day I see people talking about they feel lonely maybe more than ever before. In Europe, winter is coming; we must spend more time inside, sometimes without any human connection. The more dark hours, rain and cold affects the mood of many of us. We must give more attention to loneliness and helping now with real life examples.
There are two types of loneliness: temporary (which occurs only in some seasons in our life) and permanent (when for example we isolate ourselves to a remote country without knowing anyone. When we become old and we have no one relatives and friends).
In Part 1. of this this post I want to share my own thoughts about loneliness, what I could do to reduce the feeling of being alone. Talking about temporary loneliness. My wife dealt with the loneliness differently so I interviewed her.
However, I wanted to approach this topic from more angles than just ours. In Part 2. I am asking my best friend (Kifa) to contribute and share her thoughts as a single mum of two small children. In Part 3. a fellow digital nomad friend (Toma) is sharing his experiences, who travels the World alone.
Part 1. – Loneliness from our view
My job contract and our build project forced me to start commuting weekly 5000 kms for 5 months. Weekdays I was alone abroad, for the weekends I flew back home and we worked on the house. My loneliness was temporary this year, I knew it will end once we finish our project. But I cannot say it did not affect me emotionally. Suddenly, even the intimate moments we could spend together was limited and shadowed by to-dos, tasks and worries. I spent weeks in hotels rooms and temporary accommodations. My wife was on her own in our flat 2500 kms away and she coordinated the build project, dealt with all stress and the loneliness alone. After the first week separate we soon started to feel lonely, missed each other, missed a good conversation in person, a hug, a kiss and more… A phone call, a video call are great innovations but never replace when you feel your friend, partner next to you. We knew, “the show must go on”, our desires have no place now. We went into goal-achieving mode, tried ignoring our feelings. How did I deal with my lonely feelings?
- Instead of focusing on I am alone, I reframed the time I must “serve” in the hotel rooms while was working from there. This is the time what I can spend on my growth, on my wellbeing and on business.
- I had no excuse not to do my daily routine. Even in a small single room I had just enough space to do my yoga. After a delayed flight and long trip, next day I did my morning routine because I knew, I must stay mentally and physically strong and healthy. This year really strengthened my discipline-muscle.
- I did more activities what raised my vibration; had a nice lunch or dinner in a restaurant or had take away. Met and got know some new people. Read self-help books. Watched motivational videos on Youtube. Listened to my favourite good-vibe DJs. Whenever I could, went for a nice evening walk on the river side, in old-town or in parks.
- I kept myself busy with learning few new skills on Udemy. Attended on seminars. Wrote blog posts. Completed new tasks, those may will bring profit in my business long term.
- Had chats and calls with friends and family. Did not close myself in, I knew I need human connection to function well. I even had energy to help my friends and be there for them. With some friends I have now a closer connection and I am grateful for their time and care.
Sometimes I let myself relaxing with a can of beer and watched a movie.
Asking my wife I noticed, in same circumstances women and men act differently. You will see it from Reni’s responses.
Zollie: How did you feel yourself during the time when you were alone most of the time?
Reni: In the first month I felt myself like an “adult”, independent lady. I felt myself like living in the “Sex and the City” TV series. In the second month, I started missing my husband, even when he was there at the weekends, I saw him only as a hard working labourer around the house. We gave up the idea to fulfil our desires as a couple and focused only on our project. Many people told me, enjoy this time alone, do whatever I want. But if you are in a relationship, it is fun only for a few weeks to live an independent life, then you start missing your other half.
I could keep myself “together” easily in the beginning but after some time, it took more and more energy to stay in balance. One of the most difficult feeling was, to deal with a stressful situation when my soul-mate was not there. There was nobody to hug me, nobody to tell me, “everything will be fine”. When I got home after a hard day, opened the door into the dark flat and nobody waited me. This feeling was really destroying.
Zollie: How did you deal with feeling lonely?
Reni: I read many books and listened to audio books often. I focused on accomplishing the project while was keeping my wellbeing on an acceptable level. I knew, due to the daily struggles on the building site, I have no energy now to do a coaching session or go to a coach. I had no energy to do self-development, or to heal past hurts. I allowed myself to do whatever my mind and body wished to do in my free time. I read my favourite crime books or even sometimes fairy tales. I gave myself a permission to allow some “luxury” what I cannot always, and focus on self-preservation.
Apart from feeling good, I stuck to my daily routines:
- My brain training and Duolingo language practice.
- Sometimes a yoga when I felt my body is needed it.
- Journaling, recorded the daily activities.
- Updated my mood and well-being tracker.
- Kept my environment neat and tidy, cooked. Looked after our doggy, Poppy.
I wore my best dresses and put make up on daily. I had conversations with close friends and family members, sometimes even cried out my pain.
It helped me a ton that before this project we drew up a timeline, with milestones. When to reach what stage. When the project should end for this year. I could then stick to this timeline and even when I was feeling very deep down, I knew, this will pass soon, I must go ahead. A price had to be paid in order to accomplish our project and the cost was that I could not serve people during this time, could not build my new coaching business, I may was not always the best companion, I may spent more time isolated.
Zollie: How do you feel yourself now, that the project is successfully complete and you got back your husband?
Reni: It is a fantastic feeling that my husband is always available for me again. Our main communication channel is not through WhatsApp, he is here for me always. I need to remind myself often, this was a big accomplishment and we both deserve now to relax and feel good. Weekends, mornings and evenings are now so precious, we enjoy the quiet time, we do not have to travel and rush to anywhere. Beautiful to wake up next to my husband. I am proud for ourselves we could complete this project even we were apart and as an extra challenge, we dealt with loneliness too. I have never ever imagined the worst it can happen during this project was that we must do it apart, having 2500 km between each other. So I appreciate the result now so much more and enjoy the feeling of success.
If you liked this post, please hold on, and coming with Part 2. where you can read about loneliness from the eyes of a single mum, who must live quite isolated with her two children.