Hi Erica, I'm a woman in my late 20's, I'm finishing school, and I also have a part time job. I am in a complicated relationship and I feel lonely a lot. I feel like I don't have much of a life since I've moved away from all of my close friends, not to mention they are starting families of their own. Any advice on what to do about my loneliness?

Hello! Thank you for your question. Let's get right to it! So being in school and having a part time job takes up enough time as it is. Let's face it, if you weren't in school, you would probably prefer to work full time. In school you have time spent in class working and then time spent outside of class reading, studying, papers, projects, etc (as if you don't know!). Then at work you're focused on work. When you actually do have some spare time, which is probably far and inbetween you want to take a load off and relax, right? Sounds like in addition to relaxing, you also want to spend time with friends. Education is an investment into your future but it can also be a huge sacrifice as well. I think that you have to be realistic in how you are able to spend your time. So i'm not sure how far you are from your friends but I'm assuming if it were close enough it may not be much of an issue. My advice is to look at what you can do. Loneliness can really get one down and in a bad funk, the key is find what is good, be productive, and plan. Call your friends and make plans :) maybe you can manage to do something once a month with a different friend or all together. Place your event on your calendar so you can look forward to it. Plan small get togethers with your classmates or maybe a friendly coworker. It's nice to make new friends. Switch your thought process. Instead of thinking I'm lonely, think I have all this time to spend with me and that is wonderful. What do YOU like to do? Maybe you want to pamper yourself at home with hair, nails, and an at home facial (or maybe that's just me haha). Maybe you have some organizing you can do...get a head start on spring cleaning, revamping your closet or donating some items you don't need. Do you have a hobby? You could spend more time perfecting your craft. Plan for your dream job! Take this as an opportunity to focus on you, in whatever way you want. You are special , give yourself some extra love and attention. You'd be surprised how productive you can be alone with nothing to do. Finding positive productive things to do will help you to feel accomplished and you will spend more time on what you are doing and less time thinking about how lonely you are. There are also free organizations to join etc. Maybe a good start would be making a list of things to do when alone, pick one at random and go do it :). I'm sure working and being in school gives you tons to do already but there is a huge difference between work and focusing on YOU and what truly makes you happy. Notice I did not comment about your relationship with your partner or friends. It needs to be about you. Being alone really doesn't have to be lonely :) it's all about how you look at it.

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