Mental Health Mondays: Loneliness Is An Epidemic
Stereotypically seen as an issue solely affecting elderly widows, loneliness is growing rapidly in commonality, and not just in the over 70’s. Yet, according to the Office of Statistics, from 2016 to 2017, there were 5% of adults in England who reported feeling lonely “often” or “always”. It doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have friends or a social life. It’s the gap between your needs for connection and what you’re actually getting.
There’s a variety of factors that could be contributing to this, likely to be the increasing prevalence of social media in our lives, the amount, more people living alone and city-dwellers lacking a sense of community spirit - it’s probably not surprising to most that in a Time Out study of 18 global cities, London came out as the loneliest.
The implications of this gap between someone’s connection needs and what they’re actually getting reaches far further the more obvious impact on people’s emotional health – for many it becomes a very physical thing, where your heart beats faster and your cortisol levels increase. You’re constantly in fight or flight mode which can wreak havoc on your health in the long run.
If you, or someone you know, suffers from chronic loneliness, here are some things that may help to improve your quality of life:
Try Out Meet Up
No, it’s not just a site for kooky individuals who are super awkward in social situations (although that’s cool too!). This awesome site hosts activities and outings for people with a huge array of different interests, whether you’d like to connect with fellow feminists, sci-fi fanatics or nature-lovers. It’s a great way to meet people who are much more likely to share your wavelength.
Join A Local Sports Team
Kill two birds with one stone and join a weekly netball or football match. It's a great way to bring a sense of community into your life and can be a much better way to exercise for loneliness suffers than going to the gym solo.
Get A Puppy!
Okay, so this is not a decision to be made lightly, but studies do show that not only are pets great company, but they also give people a better sense of stability, continuity and meaning in their lives. Not ready for such a big commitment? Get yourself on Borrow My Doggy.
Work On Your Negative Self-Talk
This is a hard nut to crack but taking a more positive tone with yourself can have a massive impact on your mental wellbeing. If you need a helping hand, consider visiting a therapist. It’s nothing to shy away from and is a great way to be proactive about making a change to any negative behaviour patterns that may be holding you back.
Take A Digital Detox
Seeing other people’s exciting Saturday night isn’t going to do anything but add fuel to the fire. Without wanting to use too many clichés, comparison really is the thief of joy!
People can’t always guess how you are feeling, so although it's tough, sometimes you have to take action and ask for help, or simply extend an invitation.