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BEING ALONE ≠ BEING LONELY

Let’s be honest, we’ve all been lonely here and there… or maybe for weeks on end, but who’s counting? However, I think it’s important that we take a step back and understand that just because you’re alone does NOT mean you are lonely. It can be hard to see the difference, especially on a campus with so many people who seem to constantly be traveling in packs, but I swear I’m telling the truth.

During quarantine of March 2020 and this most recent summer, I had to learn what it was like to be alone. At first it was so difficult to fill my time and find ways to distract my mind from going down that rabbit hole we all know, but then I learned that being alone is awesome and incredibly necessary! So get comfy, grab a snack, and take a moment to let me share some of my tips with you on what to do to aid your loneliness.

1) Turn off your phone – or at least the social medias

In this day and age we are all so consumed by social media. Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, you name it. While these platforms are great ways to connect and share a piece of yourself with people around the world, it’s often very easy to start comparing yourself to others. And let’s just get this out of the way: SOCIAL MEDIA IS FAKE. No one’s life actually looks the same as it does online, so stop comparing all of you to only parts of them. Try and limit yourself to just one or two hours a day on social media and see just how much your love for your authentic self grows.

2) Get to Reading

I know what you’re thinking, “Really? Self help books?” because it’s the same thing my friend Angie thinks, but I swear by them. I’ve read plenty and I can tell you that I always feel so empowered after reading my chapter of the day and writing a quick journal entry. If you’re looking for something to make you laugh while simultaneously calling you out on your B.S. then You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero or The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson are for you. However, if you want to feel seen and understood, Daring to Take Up Space is a beautiful collection of poetry by Danielle Koepke that reminds you to be proud of who you are. 

3) Take Care of your body

Self care is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Remember it is not a luxury, but a priority! You don’t have to do it all at once, but take time to do things for you. Start off by journaling for five minutes in the morning. Write down some feelings you need to get out or even just a few things you’re grateful for. Get in the shower, put on some feel good music, and pretend like you’re physically washing all the negative energy off. Wash your face, paint your nails, do your hair, anything that feels right! Make some yummy food and nourish that body of yours that does so much to keep you going. I promise once you start to take care of yourself, your body and mind will thank you.

4.) Be creative

Humans, by nature, are creative beings. Look at everything we’ve made out of dirt and water. We are here to create, to seek and find beauty. When everything around you feels so dim, you have to produce your own light. So find something that makes you feel good inside and let your inner artist show. Trust me I’ve tried it all: painting, knitting, embroidering, collaging, vision boards, you name it. There is something out there for everyone you just gotta find keep trying until you find your muse.

I know being alone is daunting and this all sounds like a lot of work, but take baby steps. With time you’ll come to love the act of self care and be released from the grasp of F.O.M.O. because you know that you’re enough company on your own.

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Danica Shores

U Mass Amherst '24

Danica Shores is from the small town of Sandwich, Massachusetts located on Cape Cod. She has grown up with with a loving mother, 3 siblings, many cats, two turtles, and a bird. Her interests include yoga, self care, poetry, and taking long walks. Currently Danica is studying as a double psychology and journalism at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. While she is not quite sure where she sees herself in the future she looks forward to helping others of all kinds.
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