Loneliness Awareness Week
Mon 23 May 2022
13-17 June 2022
We all feel lonely at times, it is a natural emotion. By building a greater awareness and acceptance of loneliness, we can help ourselves to manage the feeling.
Loneliness awareness week is hosted by Marmalade Trust. Their aim is to reduce the stigma of loneliness. The aim of this week is to raise awareness of loneliness and to get people talking about it. For more details of the week click here.
Loneliness is affecting more and more people in the UK and has had a huge impact on our physical and mental health especially during the pandemic. The connection to other people and community is fundamental to protecting our mental health.
Most people will feel lonely at some point in their lives, regardless of age or background. It’s a deeply personal experience that in most cases will thankfully pass. But for a growing number of people, loneliness can define their lives and have a significant impact on their overall wellbeing.
Loneliness will be felt differently for everyone, it may still occur when you have loving support around you. It’s not always the number of social contacts but the perception of those relationships that count. Feeling lonely is different from being lonely.
Things you should know about loneliness
Loneliness is a natural feeling
Most of us will experience loneliness at some point in our lives. Loneliness doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you, it’s just your body’s way of letting you know that you’re not getting your social needs met. Like hunger telling you to eat.
You shouldn’t feel embarrassed or shameful about being lonely.
Loneliness can affect you at any age
It is generally thought that the older community are more likely to feel lonely, but this isn’t the case, people aged 16-24 are now the most likely group to be affected by loneliness. According to a recent ONS (Office for National Statistics) study, women and people from ethnic minorities were amongst the groups most affected by loneliness during the pandemic.
There are various reasons for feeling lonely
Certain life events, such as a bereavement can trigger such feelings, even if other family members rally around in support.
Loneliness can be caused by many other things including leaving the workplace, children or friends moving away, debilitating health condition or illness, no longer being able to participate in normal hobbies or activities and lack of access to transport. Emotional loneliness can happen in relationships and families, where you have people in your life, but you don’t feel close to or understood by them.
We are all different and you may not know someone is feeling lonely unless they tell you.
Loneliness is temporary
You may not realise it if you are feeling overwhelmed by loneliness, but it won’t last forever and you can take steps to feel better.
Loneliness is not a mental health condition, however, if left unchecked, loneliness can start to affect both our mental and physical health.
Loneliness should improve with time. However, often it’s advisable to address the situation in the early stages to prevent it becoming a chronic issue. Loneliness is now being recognised for its damaging effects, such as mental health conditions, cardiovascular issues, and sleep problems, it is therefore important to try and overcome the feeling of isolation.
What can you do if you’re feeling Lonely?
Catch up with friends – Connecting with the people around you, your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours are key to your overall wellbeing. These relationships will support and enrich you.
Make new friends – Join local groups or classes based on your interests, not only will you be doing something you enjoy, but you’ll meet new people with similar interests.
Help others by volunteering – Giving to others is a great way to boost your wellbeing. It can give a sense of purpose and create feelings of positivity. It is also a great way to meet new people whilst helping the local community.
Do things you enjoy – Plan your week to include activities that you enjoy and make you feel good.
Learn a new skill – Continued learning throughout your life helps to enhance your self-esteem and encourages social interactions.
Spend time outdoors – Fresh air, natural light and exercise combined are great for our mental health. Whatever the weather it’s great to get outside.
Focus on the positives – When you are feeling lonely, you can sometimes be in a negative frame of mind. Thinking about the good things in your life, remembering happy times or identifying at least one thing each day to be thankful for can help you to think more positively.
Look after yourself – Self-care is essential. Make sure you are sleeping well, eating healthily and being as active as possible. Prioritise looking after yourself.
It’s good to talk – If at times, life gets too much for you, it’s important that you speak to someone about how you are feeling, this may be a family member or trusted friend, your GP, or a professional organisation.
However lonely you are feeling, there is always something you can do to feel better. Loneliness Awareness Week is a good time to start to make a positive change.
Type of article: Articles
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