Well, we made it! The abominable Blue Monday (3rd Monday in January) is behind us, and we can skip through the rest of winter wrapped in a blanket weaved from magical golden threads garnered from the butterfly fields of western Euphoria, right?
Not exactly. Despite the hope we may feel at the start of a new year, we are still waist deep in winter, which for many, is an extremely difficult, lonely and depressing time. We may not easily perceive when someone we know is struggling from loneliness or depression. The reasons can be that they are a quiet person ordinarily, we are busy with our hectic lives, or we chauk their behavior up to a bad mood.
Sometimes, we just feel uncomfortable with asking if something is wrong, or feel at a loss as to how to help them. But there are simple things we can do to reach out without revealing our concerns.
1. Call: A simple phone call to check in and say ‘Hi’ can lead to fun, enlightening, and animated conversations that will lift your friend’s or relative’s spirits. While sharing what you’ve been up to, you may inspire them to open up to you as well. If they don’t easily share, then you must engage. Ask them how things are going, about hobbies, work, or family – to get them talking.
2. Stop by: Same scenario as the phone call, but even more personable. Perhaps bring with you a cup of their favorite coffee, a special pastry treat to share, or some great books you recently read.
3. Invite: Ask your friend out for lunch, dinner, or to join you for an event. Enjoy an afternoon chatting, catching up, exchanging memories. Or have them over once or twice a week for a home cooked meal and a game of Rummy. Maybe it will develop into a fun, recurring date. Perhaps others will join in and it will grow into a group of regulars rotating turns with hosting! 👏❤
The point is, we all go through tough times whether it has to do with changes in the season’s or major life challenges. But no one needs to suffer through alone. We can strive to be more aware of those around us and reach out if we sense something is wrong. Simple efforts can make a world of difference in someone’s life.
And if you are like me and experience occasional bouts of depression, don’t be afraid to help yourself by reaching out first, in the same ways described above. Sometimes we have to get out of our own way, take action to drag ourselves away from our worries by doing positive things. Join a club, go to the gym, volunteer, take up an interactive hobby or get back in touch with friends.
Even those who consider themselves ‘lone wolves’ will find life greatly improved by connecting with others who they can relate to in some way.
We can make it through dark days, and heal ourselves, but human connection is often a key factor.
I was recently reading an interesting article about wolves on a website Livingwithwolves.org. The section about the ‘Lone Wolf’ in particular, resonated with me.
“In reality, the lone wolf is a wolf that is searching, and what it seeks is another wolf. Everything in a wolf’s nature tells it to belong to something greater than itself: a pack. Like us, wolves form friendships and maintain lifelong bonds. They succeed by cooperating, and they struggle when they’re alone. Like us, wolves need one another.”
At times, we can go through phases of feeling like a wolf without a pack. But loneliness is often self-inflicted. We allow fear of rejection, and sometimes laziness to hold us back from what we want most – to belong and be understood. We might prolong our unhappiness, waiting for a pack to find us. Or we can take action and seek the pack that meshes with our own attitudes and values.
Winter can be long and often depressing for many. Don’t be afraid to help someone who is alone, or struggling, and bring them into your pack.❤
No matter the time of year, take care of you and reach out to others, too.