I firmly believe that the feeling of loneliness comes when a person doesn’t have a creative mind. Time and mind are the two most important assets a person own. The focus should be on utilising the time constructively and not on just passing it.
There is no dearth of activities a person can indulge in to keep constructively engaged even while staying alone for long periods of time. The problem inflates when the person worries more about company than about utilising time.
As an Army officer there were numerous occasions when I had to stay with troops for prolonged periods at isolated posts. At places there was no provision for electricity, telephone connectivity or television. I was not alone in a classic way; the soldiers were always nearby. The real issue was keeping the mind engaged.
One of the posts I was at remained cut off from other places due to heavy snowfall in winters and heavy rains in monsoons. During monsoon the lightning strikes and landslides were very common. This added to the stress level.
How did I keep myself engaged….
It is the routine which helped me maintain my sanity. Physical exertion, reading and writing formed a good part of the routine to ensure I got peaceful sleep at night. I am not much of a Yoga enthusiast but love walking. The normal routine at a post started with a walk around the post and interacting with the troops.
On some days I would walk to the neighbouring posts to interact with the officer there. This ensured a continuous walk of one to two hours. Walking not only ensured good physical health and digestion but also helped the mind in generating fresh ideas. Maybe the effect of nature/ fresh air. I came back to my room around lunch time.
The problem became more challenging post lunch when I used to be all by myself. That is the time the books came to my rescue.
At night either the enemy kept us entertained or the pen &paper gave company. I developed the habit of penning down my thoughts before hitting the bed at one such post.
On better days one could just sit atop a rock on a semi clouded morning and observe the clouds forming different shapes.
Even bathing twice in the day in extreme cold weather was a good way to utilise time. Melting the snow, then convincing the body that it was not too cold to take bath and then shivering for next 30 minutes in the room post the bath ensured good utilisation of time.
There was not a day when I felt lonely or bored on any of the isolated posts I served at.
There are many good ways available to eliminate the feeling of loneliness. The focus should be on utilising the time and not just passing it. I know internet and TV are two good ways to engage the mind. But then prolonged screen time has its own side effects. To avoid that everyone should develop habit of reading/ writing and have a creative hobby.