A Lonely Day - How To Deal With It.

American National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

On a lonely day, my mind starts to wander. Have you ever noticed how the holidays get here before you are ready for them? Or have you sometimes thought to yourself, 'What? Half of January is gone already? How did that happen? Have I already spent half a month of lonely days?' Or 'Is that commercial holiday - Valentines Day, a painful experience of temporary loneliness for about two weeks each February going to be upon me soon? '

The other day it occurred to me, 'If this keeps on happening, death itself will arrive before I am ready for it.' As if I am ever going to be ready for death to arrive! When I was a teenager I had resolved to live up to a hundred and twenty or more! So I am only middle aged and yet I have these thoughts. I have found a solution to these kind of thoughts though.

I have spent so many week days by myself that I think I have a routine for each week day but not for my lonely birthday. I decided that I could imagine a metronome tick tocking in the back of my mind while I went about my lonely day.


Let's see. Tick. Wake up at 6 a.m. and go through my morning routine. Tock. 6:30 a.m. Drink tea. Tick. 7:00 a.m. Do the next item. A half hour passes between a tick and a tock. That way all I have to do is figure out thirty four enjoyable things to do to have an enjoyable lonely day.

Step 1. Buy a notebook.

Buy a notebook that has 180 sheets in it. That will provide enough pages to write your lists for the whole year. Don't write anything on the first page.

Step 2. Write a header.

If possible, start this process on a lonely Monday. On the second page, write the day and date in the header space at the top of the page leaving room to write one set of words underneath the day and date. In that space, on the left hand side write the word Goals and on the right hand side write the word Actions. Draw a line down the middle of the page.

Step 3. Write the time slots.

If your normal wake up time is 6 a.m. then in the margin of the page write 6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. on the first line, 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. on the second line and so on until you get to the line that is third from the bottom.

On the last two lines of the page write down the time slots 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Step 4. Write the goals.

Under the heading Goals, write down the things you would like to do, starting at the 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. line and going on until you get to the third line from the bottom. Write these items in, regardless of how much time it takes to do each item.

For example Tick. 6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Wake up and do morning routines. Tock. 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. Drink coffee or tea or eat breakfast. Tick. 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Write this list for today. Tock. 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Do my morning reading. Tick.

Carmen Leggio, New Orleans, 1959
Carmen Leggio,...
Betsy Brown
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On the last two lines write in the things you plan on doing between 6:00 P.M. and 11:00 p.m. You will find that you use those hours for eating dinner, watching tv or some low brain activity or relaxing activity related to your hobbies.

Step 5. Write the activities.

All through the lonely day, as you do the activities, write them down under the Actions heading in the proper time slot. No matter how quickly you complete an item, write your actions in the time slot that is at least half an hour. That way, when an item takes you longer than a half hour, you will be using time you saved from the items you completed in a few minutes.

If you look up from your task and see that an hour and a half has passed when you thought you had been doing something for only a half hour, that is good - you have been in the flow - and you haven't had time to be lonely.

Step 6. Repeat the process for each day.

The next day follow the same procedure on the facing page. You might find yourself looking at your first page to see how you proceeded on your first day on this system. Then follow the process each day. You will find that Wednesday and Thursday are on facing pages. Friday and Saturday are again on facing pages. I don't write a list for Sundays.  There are a lot of outdoor activities that I can enjoy on lonely weekends.

Sunset Over Lone Tree in Paddock, Rochester, Australia
Sunset Over Lone...
Will Salter
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Step 7. Optimize the procedure for yourself.

Adjust this routine so it works for you. This idea occurred to me in August 2008. I have used several variations of the list. Sometimes I make the list the previous day and sometimes I make it at 7 a.m. Sometimes I write in an hour and a half for some tasks. That way the page is long enough for me to list all my activities.

If you like you can use this process just for lonely days only. I am amazed at how many variations there are to using the list.

I would caution you about one thing. The idea can be varied so much that you could possibly end up with a variation that makes the whole idea useless. Then the idea will not work to achieve the end purpose: to fill a lonely day with useful work and completion of tasks you know you need to accomplish. You could have a variation where you list only four items for the day. Then you accomplish those four items within the first hour or two of the day, leaving you free to be bored and lonely for the rest of the day. If you go for a variation like that one, you will not be able to turn a lonely day into a happily engaged day.

Sometimes I find it useful to give myself a break, up to four weeks off and no more, from the system. In the beginning this system kept me so busy through the day that it restricted my creativity. However, after four months of practice and falling off the list and getting back on it, I find I am able to be creative while still using the system.

If you create the daily list and first do the things you really or urgently want to do and look at your list around 3 p.m. you might find that you still have time to complete all the items on your list. It is a real good feeling when you have achieved all your daily goals by 7 p.m.

Using the system with the mental metronome feels like a change of attitude. Instead of a worry filled, boring, lonely day, you can have a beautiful action filled day. With a metronome you can make great music. With a mental metronome going on in the back of your mind you can have a beautiful un-lonely day.

You might end up singing a part of the lonely day song lyrics by SYSTEM OF A DOWN -

Such a lonely day

And its mine

A day that I'm glad I survived.

It is a good technique to learn because the twelve stages of getting out of loneliness involve quite a lot of activities.

Bonus Solution:

Search for your purpose in life or search to find your passion in life. Search in Google for "find your purpose" or "find your passion" and follow the links to learn how to find your purpose or passion in life. Once you find your purpose or passion you won't have any use for lonely song lyrics.

Click here for a poem about a lonely day.

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