Using Writing as a Remedy to Fight Loneliness
Being retired has its perks and downsides. While you have a lot of spare time on your hands, it can sometimes be difficult to fill it productively.
Loneliness is another major factor to consider since you’re probably used to interacting with others on a daily basis before retiring. Writing can be a great remedy for loneliness, especially if you live alone or in a retirement home. How exactly can you use writing as a means to fight loneliness and improve your everyday life from now on?
What Do You Need to Start Writing?
The best thing about writing is just how easy it is to start doing it. All you need is some persistence on your part to express your inner thoughts in writing. Beyond that, here’s what you can pick up in a local bookstore:
- A quality notebook – the notebook you get for writing depends entirely on your preferences in terms of its decoration, cover, and line art
- Several reliable pens – you can use graphite or chemical pens, markers, or even quills to write if you are up for it
You will also benefit from:
- A good routine – the most important part of making use of writing is to be persistent and write a little bit each day
- A smartphone app – you can use a reminder, a calendar, or a time-tracker to keep track of your writing habits
Why Choose Long-Hand over Electronic Devices for your Writing Activities?
So far, we’ve talked about what you need to get started with writing activities from the perspective of writing by hand – and for good reasons. Writing by hand over typing your thoughts out on a computer keyboard has plenty of benefits to consider. By using your own handwriting, you create a tactile surface with memories and thoughts which you can feel with the tips of your fingers. The notebooks you write can be shared with a friend or a loved one, or simply kept as memorabilia and read through later on.
While writing on a laptop or a desktop computer is convenient by today’s standards, it leaves something to be desired. Digital writing can feel cold and unengaging despite it being more modern. Writing by hand instead of typing also leads to:
- Improved memory
- Improved reading and writing comprehension
- Increased engagement with the writing activities
- Better focus and sharpness of mind
- Better cognitive and motor skills
Filling your Free Time
The first thing you’ll notice when you start writing is that your free time is passing much faster. There is a wide range of writing types that you can pick up to see how the format fits your sensibilities. Some of the writing types include:
- Essay writing
- Diary writing
- Creative brainstorming
- Prose or poetry writing
- Prompt writing
- Letter writing
Some writing formats will naturally fit your bill more than others. You may also gravitate more toward essay writing than poetry writing if you worked as a teacher, for example. Try out different writing types until you land on the ones that are most interesting and engaging for you.
Journaling About your Daily Activities
There are various ways in which you can write at home, and journaling is one of them. Journaling involves writing down the things and experiences you’ve had in the past day. According to a Michigan State University study, 41% of adults have reported mental health issues in 2020 as a result of social distancing.
Journaling has been found to help with negative emotions for many people who used writing as a coping mechanism for loneliness.
As a retiree, you can use journaling as a creative way to filter your daily thoughts. You can also sketch, use stickers, as well as coloured pens, and other materials to make your journal unique. Journaling can thus help you fight loneliness and give you a new hobby to look forward to each day.
Expressing your Suppressed Emotions
Writing is a unique way for you to converse with your inner self. Writers are often referred to as loners due to the nature of their work. The greats like Stephen King or Robert Jordan didn’t create the masterworks they did by socialising – they stuck to what they were passionate about, writing.
Writing can help you do the same by allowing you to express your emotions, whether they’re positive or negative. Expressing both joy and sadness, excitement and loneliness are very possible through written words. Doing so will alleviate your stress, anxiety, and depression, and allow you to enjoy your free time unencumbered by worries.
Flexing Your Creative Writing Muscles
Creativity is one of the most important traits we all share and everyone expresses it in a different, unique way. Writing can be your channel for exploring your creative tendencies and you can do so through a variety of formats:
- Scriptwriting for plays, movies, or series
- Speech writing
- Creative essay writing
- Memoir or autobiography writing
- Fiction writing
Creative writing can spark your energy and reignite your passion for filmography, photography, literature, or any number of other hobbies and pastimes. You can watch films and write essays or reviews about them, or listen to songs and come up with your spin on existing lyrics. These creative exercises will help you combat loneliness and find new meaning in everyday life, all through the power of writing.
Mind-Mapping as a Cognitive Exercise
If you only have a few minutes to spare between chores or daily activities, you can brainstorm through mind-mapping. This is a simple yet efficient writing exercise that will tickle your imagination and help improve your cognitive and mental faculties.
Grab a piece of paper and write down a term or a phrase you’re intrigued by at the moment. Start writing-related words and phrases as branches that branch out of the initial writing prompt. Keep going until you are satisfied with your results or fill the paper you’ve brainstormed on. Repeat this writing exercise whenever you’re bored, feeling lonely, or have some time to spare.
Finding Ways to Grow Through Writing
Being retired doesn’t have to be detrimental to your future development. Writing will help you feel less lonely and more productive, not to mention the amazing new pieces, essays, and papers you can write. You still have a lot to give to the world, and writing is only one of the ways to do that and combat loneliness along the way.
Author Jessica Fender is a professional writer and educational blogger at GetGoodGrade.
Image from Freepik