Do you know the sneaky little gremlin feeling…loneliness? Athletes definitely do.
As busy as we are with training there’s also a lot of down time. Rest and recovery is all part of training schedule especially over the weekends. Occasionally you realise that in your moments of peace there may not be anyone else around except that little monster feeling your unsure of. Those few odd minutes of free time that slowly add up and then ‘BAM!’ he smacks you with the realisation that your all alone, again.
Travelling and moving around so much has its own impact upon feeling rather spaced from people. To make it worse I can’t count how many times I’ve ended up people watching in airports or shopping centres. In a strange way it can be fun and you can turn it into a good game to play by inventing their life stories, what they do for a living, where they’re from etc etc, it’s not creepy at all, just don’t get caught!
I find that loneliness is an ever changing feeling and it is purely dependant on your point of view. The purchase of a single ticket to the movies is not out of the norm! It wastes a couple of hours and gets you out of the house. Plus once you have seen a movie you can talk about it at training and it seems like you ‘get out’ even though they are doing the same thing- nothing. Everyone training together is in the same boat therefore we can regularly hang out but there’s times where a ‘different’ clan of people is required.
Once you realise you have that little lonely monster hanging around you have to force yourself to be even more pro-active. Find me a yoga studio ASAP! Well something like this anyway, social stimulation and groups of people with things in common. Art classes, book clubs (BORING) or a regular weekly event where people meet up and I don’t mean AA, silly you! It’s the step beyond the regular cycle of shops, markets and those cinemas again especially as there’s only so many amazing shoes you can wear at once!
Creating a support network of people to socialise with is important to keep a mental happiness and stimulation. Having a job on the side or study is one of the first and best options to get out and meet people, plus your making money at the same time, it’s Genius!
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even this blog is a way for us to communicate and have the interaction with people even though we aren’t exactly ‘talking’. 21st Century of social media, gadgets and apps is a gift in disguise as they help us remain in touch whilst filling the void of loneliness, at least for a while but they aren’t a solution. You can find yourself double checking the latest updates and hitting refresh because it’s the same news as 5 mins ago. This is the monster telling you ‘get a life, Now! Out the door moments later to find the closest shop… I mean book club!
I have discovered at times that the feeling of being alone can cause you to become a hermit crab and without realising it your withdrawn from so many things that even taking that Sunday morning walk becomes a task! You begin to enjoy your own company more than having to ‘deal’ with other people. Forcing yourself to say yes to social outings and keeping busy is so important to remain positive and outgoing.
I know now that it is the most normal feeling to have especially with this lifestyle but it’s being aware of it and creating an environment as best you can to support yourself and maybe get through a few weeks before the odd bad day! Oh and a good tip… A chocolate brownie on that odd day always helps!