By Mariam G., BSc Psychology and Counselling Student and Volunteer
The Office for National Statistics stated that in April-May 2020, around 2.6 million people reported feeling lonely “often” or “always”, and around 7.4 million adults said that their well-being has been affected as a result of feeling lonely. Last year, 2020, up until now has been a strange time for everyone. It has changed the way we live our lives and many people have become isolated and lonely due to this. Loneliness does not discriminate against race, gender or age and can affect anyone at any time, which is why it is important to speak up now! We are all social creatures and crave social interaction which is why this past year has hit us all the hardest as it has prevented us from doing what is natural to us. We all think at some point that we are alone. But in truth we all go through the same experiences and feelings which is why we can empathise with one another and support each other through hard times. While these tips may seem generic (it’s because they are), your situation is unique and what may work for someone else, may not work for you. However, I hope that this will help you or perhaps can help someone you know who is feeling lonely.
Step 1 – Reduce Stigma
We need to reduce the stigma by having conversations about how we are feeling so that people know they are not alone in this and that they have someone to talk to. By picking up the phone or sending a message will show the other person that you are thinking of them and will reassure them that they are not alone. Being there for someone else will do great wonders for you, your own mental health and wellbeing or just knowing that you did something meaningful for someone by making a positive contribution to their day.
Step 2 – Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Try reaching out to someone. It doesn’t have to be a family or friend; it could be any support group or service in your area or even online. Shawmind for example is a very good platform to share your experience with likeminded people and it can help you form connections with others. You won’t feel so alone when you find out others are going through the exact same situation.
Step 3 – Create a Routine
As we are spending more time at home and all our schedules have been muddled up, we need to find a new normal for the time being. That being said, keeping a schedule may keep you busier and feeling like you have something to wake up to every morning instead of the endless feelings of loneliness.
Step 4- Spice Things Up a Bit and Learn a New Hobby
Taking up a new hobby such as baking or painting may also raise your vibrations, which can show you how creative you can be despite being restricted in other areas of life.
Step 5 – Stay Active
Finally, staying active can improve your mental and physical health by reducing your stress hormones and releasing endorphins. By keeping yourself busy and healthy as well as being there for someone else will surely and hopefully alleviate some of the burdens that loneliness can have.
Feel like learning a bit more about other people’s experiences and get a chance to share your own? Come join us at our online events such as the Breathe Café and ManCave. And follow us on Instagram @breathe_uni!