Whilst loneliness is a feeling we can all relate to, sometimes it can be difficult to admit to, and maybe even embarrassing, but like feeling happy, loneliness is a normal emotion. The issue with the emotion of being lonely is that it’s a negative feeling and most of us are uncomfortable with experiencing difficult emotions.
Loneliness has a lot to do with the quality and quantity of your relationships and social connections. You can feel lonely if you feel like you are not being understood by those around you. You might feel isolated when the relationships in your life have broken down or if you are caring for someone with support needs. You can even feel a bit lost when your children have left home – empty nest syndrome.
Social media can also make us feel isolated. Seeing friends being sociable or family together can make us feel excluded, when in fact people are simply sharing the positive moments from their lives. On the flipside, perhaps the thought of engaging in social situations involving others makes you feel anxious.
There is no one-size-fits-all feeling, just like there is more than one solution to help manage loneliness.
Here are a few suggestions that may help you reduce your feeling of isolation:
Make new connections
Visit your local community hubs – they offer a range of activities and services that are used by lots of different people. You can interact with others and form new friendships, join a book club, walking group, exercise class or maybe a lunch club. Your local faith group can often offer similar services and activities.
Try signing up for a befriending service or online community support such as Togetherall, our free mental health support service. If you’re over the age of 60, why not sign up to the free ‘Call in Time’ telephone friendship service run by Age UK? Just visit ageuk.org.uk/services/befriending-services to find out more.
Spend some time outdoors
Now that Spring is here, get out into the fresh air and sunshine. You can spend time in the garden or even go to a local park. Nature has a wonderful way of lifting our spirits by connecting us to the world around us.
Take it slow
There is no need to rush into anything, set your own pace. Be kind to yourself.
It’s human to feel lonely and it is okay to feel that way sometimes. However, if you think that loneliness is starting to affect your daily life and mental health, we can help you find the support and help you need. Just visit our Better Days service to learn more.
If you know someone who is dealing with loneliness but aren’t sure how to help, this video from the NHS – Every Mind Matters might help give you a steer.