by Kate McLaughlin
Top Tips for Dealing with Loneliness
This week (14th to 18th June 2021) is Loneliness Awareness Week. Hosted by Marmalade Trust, this campaign aims to raise awareness of loneliness and get people talking about how to recognise and resolve it.
Loneliness is sometimes stigmatised, which can make it difficult to talk about, but the past year has been truly challenging for everybody. This unifying experience of national lockdowns and restrictions on our social behaviours as well as prolonged isolation has caused many people to struggle with feeling lonely, making now the perfect time to talk about it.
If you are or have ever felt lonely, we want you to know that that’s ok and provide you with our top tips for helping you cope with those feelings. Carry on reading to find out what they are.
What is Loneliness?
Feelings of loneliness might be related to missing a specific person that you are separated from, or you might be lacking the support of a wider social network. Loneliness can be experienced differently by different people in different circumstances, however, in a broad sense, loneliness is when you feel disconnected, isolated and distanced from others. Feelings of loneliness often come in waves depending on the situation or circumstance.
Loneliness can be self-perpetuating, so the more lonely you feel, the more isolated you can become and this is part of why it can become stigmatised. It is important to remember that it is completely normal to feel lonely sometimes and there are people out there to support you and help you overcome those feelings.
5 Tips to Help with the Feeling of Loneliness
Top Tip 1: Be Kind to Yourself
It is easy to be hard on yourself when you’re feeling lonely. Feeling ashamed of or uncomfortable with your circumstances can make you feel like there is something wrong with you – but remember that feeling lonely is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.
It is important to be kind to yourself. Look after yourself and take some self-care time to do the things that make you happy. Taking a bath, reading, dancing or singing to favourite songs. You can also start a project to make something or learn something new.
Top Tip 2: Reach Out and Surround Yourself with People You Love
When you recognise that you are feeling lonely, try not to isolate yourself. Contact your friends and family and ask for a catch-up. You don’t have to talk about feeling lonely if you don’t want to, but just making a connection with someone can help.
If you don’t want to talk to someone you’re already close to, try to make new connections by joining groups that have similar hobbies or interests to you or volunteer in your community.
Top Tip 3: Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Social media in particular can make you feel lonely or inadequate whilst you’re scrolling through pictures and videos of other peoples activities. Remember that social media feeds are heavily curated, and those filtered moments that people choose to share are rarely a true reflection of the entirety of their life.
Take social media breaks if you are finding it difficult to stop comparing yourself to others or practise gratitude to connect with the positives in your own life instead.
Top Tip 4: Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Rest
Sometimes you might find it difficult to switch off, but it is so important that you do. Rest allows you to heal your body, reduce stress, boost creativity and productivity and enhance your decision-making capabilities.
Getting enough rest and having good sleep hygiene, in particular, can help give you the necessary energy to take good care of yourself, to reach out to others and to make healthier choices.
Top Tip 5: Get Support With Your Feelings
If you’re feeling lonely, speaking to a therapist is a healthy choice. When you’re feeling vulnerable, having your feelings validated makes a big difference and talk therapy will not only help you to feel connected and supported but will give you coping strategies to move forwards.
Long-term loneliness can lead to a number of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, self-harm behaviours and stress can increase the risk of developing physical health problems too. Connect with us on 01282 685345 or check out our contact us page and we’d be happy to help.