So last weekend I got unexpectedly plummeted into the world of ‘loneliness’ when my plans for the weekend went pearshaped and I found myself at a loose end.. on my own.
My first thought was to stay home, to protect myself as I felt sad and insecure.
Loneliness [the state of being alone and feeling sad about it]
Being alone is nothing new to me and these days I am really comfortable spending time on my own. Loneliness is something I have experienced on and off throughout my life. through grief, loss, and seperation. I speak openly in my book about my own feelings around self worth related to this and my sense of not belonging.
For me it stirs up big feelings of rejection and abandonment which can feel pretty painful at times.
But with my girls away and the dog already in kennels for the weekend I decided to try something new to navigate this curveball…
I had choices..
I could distract myself with work, I could use my ‘go to stuff ‘ like walking in nature, shopping, gardening, calling friends etc.. but this time it felt different, it felt that I really needed to step into the feeling of loneliness and see how I could push myself out of my own comfort zone to actually sit in it and experience time ‘with myself’ and thats exactly what I did.
My inner child was screaming at me to stay safe, to stay at home. My rebel wanted me pour wine and binge on chocolate and watch netflix (Bridget Jones style).
Now while that is all well and good and theres been lots of times that this has been just what I needed , there was another part of me who wanted to push myself to see if I was capable of more.
After chatting to a couple of friends I went from ideas of.. booking a flight to Milan to spending the day at a spa, but I just listened in to myself … and what was right for me, in that moment.
So with my hope hoodie on and my bags packed off I went… I wasn’t even sure if I would go far or even if I would stay away, but I started to flex the muscle of my uncomfortable ‘alone’ feelings with baby steps..
Stop one: I found myself at ‘ Another Place’ Exhibition and wow was I blown away.
The minute I arrived I felt a deep sense of emotion.. tears welled in my eyes and I knew I was ‘meant’ to be there in that moment of my life.
These spectacular sculptures by Antony Gormley are on Crosby beach. Another Place consists of 100 cast-iron, life-size figures spread out along three kilometres of the foreshore, stretching almost one kilometre out to sea.
They are made from casts of the artist’s own body standing on the beach, all of them looking out to sea, staring at the horizon in silent expectation.
They are described as a poetic response to the individual and universal sentiments associated with emigration – sadness at leaving, but the hope of a new future in Another Place.
I felt such a deep sense of emotion, them all standing alone but still ‘together’ in sight and an energectic connection between them, the waves of life coming and going.. I sat there for hours just watching and contemplating the waves of my own life.
At times I felt sad, I allowed the tears to flow and felt a sense of relief. These days I honour my tears and know no matter how dark I can feel, it will pass and there be light once more.
A LITTLE REMINDER OF LOVE
So next stop… I needed to eat. Now usually travelling alone would be a drive through or a sandwich in the car for me, something that feels safe and comfortable.
But not today!
I pulled up a beautiful pub/restaurant, the type I would choose if I was with a friend or partner. I nearly drove off, but something inside pushed me to get out of he car and I found myself inside requesting a table for one! (go meeeeee!!!)
I was actually very proud of myself.
Thankfully they sat me in a really lovely area that felt safe and not like I was in the middle of a goldfish bowl. Lunch was lovely and the bill came with little heart sweet – for me this was a gorgeous little reminder, that I am loved and also affirmed my own feelings of self worth and strength. The reminder I needed in that moment of how far I have come (self appreciation and self love) for who I am and who i am here to be!
PROTECTION & GUIDANCE
I headed to Liverpool, I love being by water so the Albert Dock was calling… but I went the wrong way…
I decided to let free will navigate me, I just followed the signs and was led my road numbers. I’m a big believer in my higher self and guidance from my angels and angelic numbers play a big part in this for me. Having lost my Mum, Dad and Brother I always feel safe and guided even when alone.
Do you ever see repeated numbers? If you want to know what they mean for you… you can check them out here..
41 was a repeated number I kept seeing, even my shopping bill the day before was 4141. And if I needed anymore confirmation I realised I was on the A41… so just kept driving I know I was on the right path for me that day.. here was a little sign from the traffic lights on the A41!
I WAS SAFE – WITH MYSELF – ALONE
I was tired… I made the decision to stay somewhere… again I just decided “next hotel I get to – thats the one”. I was teary when I arrived, it felt huge.. it reminded me of the loneliness I used to feel when I travelled away for work in my twenties after I lost my Mum. But again I felt brave.. and off I went, thankfully I was greated by a lovely receptionist who upgraded my room (I didn’t ask) and when I arrived I knew I was in the right place. Rainbow wallpaper, the very thing that runs through my life and my branding and reminds me of my brother.
Again, I decided room service was an option, but not today.. I decided to ‘go on a date with myself’ and off I went to dinner. Thankfully the bar was busy and it didn’t take me long to feel ok. I finished up chatting with the receptionist again, the synergy in our stories was unreal and she thanked me for giving her the boost to get her own book pulished (that little confirmation – that I was meant to be there all along).
I actually finished up having a lovely night meeting new people and helping with first aid! (that’s a story for another day).
THE MORNING AFTER…
The morning came and I felt pretty low… waking up alone in a hotel felt tough. I soon got myself out via starbucks and off to Chester for a while before heading to Wales! Again I took myself by listening in and randomly following the odd road sign before arriving at this beautiful place.. and there was the lonesome seagul to great me. Again alone but always together. I journalled, drank tea, soaked up the sea air and cleared my head.. and my heart.
I decided I was recharged, I could breathe, I had done it.. I had experienced and discovered the art of aloneness. Without hiding away or distracting myself with day to day duties. I had stepped into the feelings and I had sat in them to get brave to push myself out of the comfort of my own home, alone.
I think my biggest challenge was actually not talking for periods of time.. I do LOVE to talk! Instead I listened to myself and the whispers of my heart within.
TIPS FOR NAVIGATING LONELINESS
Just Breathe - You have got this!
If you are struggling with loneliness in a particular moment, anchor into your breath, know that this moment will pass and you will be ok.
Be mindful - notice the little things
Take a walk in nature, go for a drive, take note of the little things around you that can bring you joy in that moment. Think about taking photos or writing about the things you have observed.
Listen to yourself
Grab a journal and share your inner thoughts or pull some affirmation cards to help you connect with a positive message.
Think about what lights you up
Was there something you enjoyed to do as a child or a hobby you have thout about taking up? Take action and reach out to a local class or group.
Loneliness – Mental Health Awareness Week – Monday 9 May to Sunday 15 May 2022
The Mental Health Foundation has announced the dates and theme of next year’s Mental Health Awareness Week. It will run from Monday 9 May until Sunday 15 May 2022. The week will explore the experience of loneliness, its effect on our mental health and how we can all play a part in reducing loneliness in our communities.
Loneliness affects millions of people in the UK every year and is a key driver of poor mental health. The Foundation’s Mental Health in the Pandemic research has found that loneliness has been exacerbated by the Covid pandemic. The Foundation has been tracking loneliness levels in the UK during the pandemic and found the experience has been much higher with devastating impact. Loneliness has been an important factor contributing to higher levels of distress, resulting from people’s sense of isolation and reduced ability to connect with others. Further polling also found that loneliness was one of the leading issues that the public felt needed to be addressed.
The week will raise awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental wellbeing and the practical steps we can take to address it. Reducing loneliness is a major step towards a mentally healthy society.