After many months or years of dreaming, planning and booking, you’ve finally taken that extraordinary leap of faith and headed out into the great unknown–you should be so very proud. Although there’s plenty of excitement and novelty around living away from home, we know it can initially be a somewhat isolating experience, so we’ve asked those who have done it for some of their best tips on how they shook those occasional lonely feelings to help you get through.
Here are seven of the best ways to combat loneliness when you live away from home.
Join A Local Community Team
Mixed netball? Saturday community gardens? Wednesday night indoor volleyball? Yes, it can be nerve-racking, but sleuthing out some of the social groups or teams around your new neighbourhood can be an amazing way of making connections with like-minded people who can offer a bit of a support if you ever lock yourself out of your apartment or just need to chat. Often advertised on Facebook Groups, in newspapers or on library community boards, you may be surprised by how many fab fun options are waiting for you.
Have A Scheduled FaceTime Slot With Your Besties Back Home
Life is busy for all of us, yes, but it’s imperative to keep those existing friendships strong. By organising a weekly scheduled spot (say 6pm your time Monday nights when you’re least likely to be out), you'll always have that virtual catch up with vino to look forward to, making you feel that love radiating through the screen even when you’re far apart. Pop some candles on, pour your fave drop and create your new fave bar right in your living room.
Wine And Dine Yourself
If you’re still working on finding your new crew, then this is the ultimate time to pamper yourself and get to know the coolest restaurants, bars, parks and hidden gems in your new town. Treat yourself to a fabulous dinner at a trendy new opening, buy a picnic rug and some great cheese at a local deli and soak in the sunshine, or go meandering through some quaint bookstore for your next novel and head out for a read with a glass of wine. How very Carrie Bradshaw.
Volunteer Your Time
A wise man once said, “When you can take no more, give.” Volunteering your time is not only incredibly rewarding, but helps bring communities together to increase levels of inclusivity and belonging. Do a search on soup kitchens needing a chef extraordinaire, op shops needing front desk staff, aged care homes looking for visitors or any other great initiatives taking place around town.
Go Old-School With A Pen Pal
There’s something completely charming about receiving handwritten mail, particularly when you’re far from where you grew up. It may sound slightly kitsch, but why not become a tourist in your new home and grab yourself a bunch of postcards and write to your heart’s content. Your loved ones back home will cherish these little mementos from your trip (while they’re wildly jealous back home). It can also be incredibly therapeutic to keep a journal if you've run out of postcards and want to do something for yourself.
Release Some Endorphins
Science continues to tell us time and time again that exercise is not only obviously great for your physical health, but the mental benefits are boundless. Why not get your bearings with a morning jog, or sign up to your local pilates or yoga studio (another great way for meeting new pals) to pump those happy hormones and keep you feeling strong rather than falling into a slump. Your body and mind will thank you, and you’ll feel great establishing new rituals and routines around your cute little neighbourhood.
Remind Yourself Why You’re There
Loneliness can feel like the most horrible pit in your stomach, and unfortunately there’s not always an easy way to completely avoid those nights when you’re feeling slightly helpless, but it’s so crucial to remind yourself of the incredible adventure you’ve taken yourself on and the amazing person you are for making it all happen. We have no doubt this big move has been dreamt about for years, so take time to reflect on how far you’ve come, all the risks and hoops you’ve jumped through to get there, and celebrate the fact that you’ve finally made those fantasies a reality. Go you.
Image: Urban List