All my longings lie open before you, Lord;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
- Psalm 38:9
The cold seasons can be difficult for many of us. There is so much emphasis placed on spending time with others and finding warmth and love there. Activities for this time of year focus on spending time in intimate relationships, and if you feel like you’re lacking that, then loneliness often begins to ache.
It is never enjoyable to feel like you are missing family, friends, or a significant other; and in the winter months that hole feels extra big. While it is important to realize that the Lord provides all that we need and that we can be satisfied in Him, we can also find comfort in finding winter activities that help us feel less alone. Here are a few activities I find that help me feel less lonely during the winter season!
1. Bake some treats and pass them out to neighbors! I love baking during this time of year, but then find myself with too many treats to eat myself. Why not share them with the people in our communities? When we feel alone, it is easy to forget that we have people all around us. So many of us go without talking to our neighbors these days, and saying hi with a yummy treat just might be a door to a new friendship!
2. Volunteer! There are so many different places that you can give your time and love to this season. I personally find a lot of joy in helping out a homeless shelter. Not only do you get to bond with the people you’re volunteering with, but you get to hear so many stories from the people coming in. Listening to others and sharing our pains reminds us that we are not alone. The winter is a difficult time for so many people, and by sharing our time we can feel unified among our community.
3. Host a game night. This one is great if you feel like you aren’t close to many people. Game nights create a low-stress environment for people to get to know each other. You can play tabletop games like Settlers of Catan, or there are games you can play on the television as well, like Jackbox. Grab a couple of bags of chips and you’re all set. Need people to invite? Look to your coworkers or people you attend church with! There are always people around that you can get to know better. A couple of snacks and games go a long way in creating friendships.
4. Befriend an Animal. Furry (and non-furry) friends have been shown to make people less stressed and happier. I know for many of us, adoption isn’t always an option. Working takes a lot of time and pets can be costly. However, there are ways to spend time with animals that don’t involve commitment. Many animal shelters and pet shops allow (and encourage) you to come in a play with their animals. With so many creatures and not so many workers, not every animal gets as much attention as they would like. If you’re feeling lonely, going out and cuddling a dog, or holding a bird, may ease the pain.
5. Find events you’d like to attend. Now that we have the internet, it is incredibly easy to find fun things going on around you. There are light shows, and meetups, food tastings, and many more. If you use Facebook, you can even share the event and see if anyone else would like to attend with you. A shared interest can always spark a new friendship!
There are many things you can do to make you feel less lonely during this time of year, but sometimes you don’t want to go out. In these times, you can find peace in being by yourself and treat yourself to a night in. There are also times that the ache of loneliness persists, no matter what you do. I want you to know that this feeling will pass. All of us go through times in our lives where we feel alone. Some more than others, yes. But during these times we must rest in our faith in the Lord. He is on our side and will provide for us. We must practice trust and patience when it comes to His plan.
1. What activity will you participate in this Winter?
2. How can you use your time to grow in community?
Lord, I thank You for being a faithful and loving God. There are times that I feel like I do not have anyone, but I know that I have You, God. Lord, I pray that I can be patient in Your plan for me and that I use even these times to glorify You, Amen.