The nights are the worst, aren’t they? Dark, quiet, sad and lonely. These tips on how to get through the night when you feel sad and lonely – or depressed because of a breakup, divorce or death in the family – will help you cope. At the very least, they’ll show you you’re not alone!
If you can’t sleep, you might as well put your time to good use, right? I asked my “She Blossoms” Facebook Group for tips on coping with a lonely night — so I know these ideas work for some women! I also shared my favorite Blossom Tip, because it’s not gonna make it into the book I’m writing (tentatively titled Blossoming After Loss: Healing Your Heart and Starting Over in a New Season of Life). If you have ideas for coping and getting through the night when you feel sad and lonely, please share them below. I’d love to hear what works for you.
You’ve lost someone you love…and now you drag yourself out of bed each the morning. Not only do you feel physically exhausted because you didn’t sleep most of the night, you’re emotionally tired of feeling sad and lonely every night.
During the day, you say and do the right things, you find a way to make it through the day…but something is missing. You feel empty, deflated. You lost someone who meant everything to you; now you’re going through the motions but you feel numb and empty inside.
“Those feelings of despair will pass,” says 59 year old Emilee in Help Starting Over in Your 60s – After Your Husband Dies. She lost her husband after 40 years of marriage. “You will wake up one day and smile. You will laugh again with your family and friends. Your memories will make you happy. The sun will be bright and the flowers will be beautiful again. Your loved ones are watching over you. I pray God blesses you, and gives you strength and peace.”
Maybe someday you’ll feel alive and happy again, but when? Right now you just want your old life back. I remember when my grandma died — I’d just booked a trip out east to visit her. I was planning to spend a week sitting at her kitchen table, digging into her homemade Baba-style Ukrainian sausage, pirogies and cabbage rolls, feeding her what I thought were insignificant details in my life. Oh, how she loved those little updates! She cherished every word I tossed out.
“Have a good feed now,” my grandma would say. “We won’t be eating again for two hours.” How could my grandmother die when she knew I was practically on her doorstep?
Truthfully, I didn’t have a problem finding ways to get through the night when I felt sad and lonely after her death. Just the opposite: all I wanted to do was sleep. And sleep. And sleep some more.
7 Ideas for Getting Through Sad, Lonely Nights
I changed a few details in these tips on how to get through the night when you feel sad and lonely, to protect the privacy of my “She Blossoms” Facebook group members.
1. Watch something that changes your mood
When I can’t sleep, I write. Sometimes I watch an intense dramatic movie because it changes my mood and usually gives me a fresh perspective. Or I start reading a light book. When the night feels really dark and I’m especially sad and lonely, I do spiritual mind treatments. Sometimes, but not often because it’s the middle of the night, I’ll call a friend.
2. Stay physically and mentally active during the day
When I feel sad and lonely, I spend most of my days out of the house and keep as busy as possible. If I do active things such as gym classes, shopping, having coffees and tea in various cafes during the day, I’m more tired at night so I can sleep better. It helps not to sit alone in the house alone regretting that my husband is gone.
3. Be gentle with yourself
I remind myself to take it one step at a time.
4. Be honest with someone about feeling sad and lonely
Yes, the nights and weekends can be lonely. My best advice on how to get through the night when you’re sad and lonely is to get out of the bedroom, take a walk or call a friend. Yes, calling to talk to someone seems like the hardest thing to do because we think we have to be brave and strong. God very often sends someone to us in person or a phone call, to help us cope with a long lonely night.
If you’re struggling with depression, read Not Quite Sad or Lonely…What Depression Feels Like.
5. Talk or write to God
I read inspirational books and watch light comedy movies when I feel sad and lonely, or can’t sleep at night. But mostly, I pray to God for inner strength.
Pray, cry, pray…
6. Start something new in your life!
One of my Facebook groups (not She Blossoms) has an awesome group of women from all over the country. They do ladies night virtual style. It’s fun! So many women don’t have a ton of friends to go and do things with…we’ll have a glass of wine, snacks to nibble on, and some group members will even be in their PJ’s. It all depends on the lady. Last month there were five of us, including myself. Organizing something like this – a monthly or weekly activity – is a great tip on how to get through the night when you’re sad and lonely.
And finally, here’s my most creative tip on how to get through the night when you’re sad and lonely: get busy sculpting! Allow yourself to grieve and heal in your own way — no matter how weird it is.
7. The most creative way to get through the night…
I met a widow called Margie in Bob Deits’ book Life After Loss: Conquering Grief and Finding Hope. She signed up for a sculpture class at a local community college and decided to make a life-sized bust — a realistic head-and-shoulders clay sculpture — of her deceased husband.
Margie knew nothing about art and had never worked with clay before, but she wanted to create a realistic replica of him. The teacher told her busts are very difficult to sculpt; he encouraged her to make a small bowl instead. She refused, and instead “availed herself freely of Mr. McClendon’s time and patience.” Margie not only completed her husband’s bust, she made several more in subsequent sculpting classes.
At the end of the last semester, Margie threw a celebration party at her house for the teacher and students. They were surprised to see the sculptures of her deceased husband all over her home. The art teacher — concerned about her mental health — questioned her. “I was lonesome for my husband,” she told him. “I thought a sculpture of him in our house would kind of bring him back into my life. It didn’t, but I liked the sculpture there at the living room window. It looked like he was watching television.”
Margie liked making busts of her deceased husband and putting them in different windows of her home. She also thought it’d be good protection against intruders, because the house wouldn’t look empty. Margie gave her final bust to Mr. McClendon, saying she doesn’t need them for protection anymore.
Learning how to get through the night when you’re sad and lonely doesn’t have to be about doing “quiet” reading or writing activities! And, working through your grief after you lose someone you love can open you up to new and different ways of expressing yourself.
Creative healing isn’t about making great art, it’s about tapping into your deep pain and letting it out. You don’t necessarily need to sculpt life-sized busts of dead people, but you might enjoy splashing paint on canvas, carving wood, or making wreaths. And, remember that everyone grieves in her own way. Your grieving style is unique and holy. Give yourself time, and you will slowly heal and Blossom…and you will no longer need to search for tips on how to get through the night when you’re sad and lonely.