Updated: Feb 5
In this pandemic it is evident to see why loneliness is affecting many, many have lost loved ones and friends, their jobs and community and so going through life alone day to day isn’t going to be easy on many especially when having to go through it all alone.
Loneliness can be defined as an unpleasant emotional response to perceived isolation; loneliness can also be described as social pain - a psychological mechanism which motivates individuals to seek social connections. It is often associated with an unwanted lack of connection and intimacy.
Loneliness can be crippling, tough, draining, distracting and upsetting for many, when there isn’t that human interaction or communication daily. Though many can feel lonely from time to time, it’s when it is consistent and affects you mentally that you need to address it further.
There are those who choose to be on their own and like their own company with limited contact with others, but if you are a sociable person and love the company of others loneliness in times like this can affect you more and affect your mood day to day.
Feeling lonely happens for many reasons and not always being understood or supported by others around them, is enough to also affect someone. It is important that when such is felt, it is expressed and voiced out to work on as opposed to feel and suppress.
“Feeling lonely isn't in itself a mental health problem, but the two are strongly linked. Having a mental health problem can increase your chance of feeling lonely.
Again loneliness and felling lonely can impact your mental health more than people realize, especially when its ongoing for a long period of time. Including depression, anxieties, low self esteem, sleep problems to name a few."
SOME OF WHAT CAUSES LONELINESS?
- Heart break
- Change of jobs
- Moving to a new location
- Starting a new university
- Holiday periods
It has also been suggested that those who live in certain circumstances and belong to particular groups are more likely vulnerable to loneliness, such as –
- Being estranged from your family
- Single with no friends or family around
- A single parent
- Excluded due to ethnicity e.g. where you live
- Financial struggles – so unable to join social events
So how can you manage loneliness? Here are a few ways and tips listed below-
- Try to put yourself out there to make connections with others
- Try to open up with trusted people around you, even if it’s one person
- Try therapy
- Look after yourself, your space and your mind
- Volunteer and use your skills to help others
- Peer support – Befriender services / online community etc
- Spend time in places you love / seeing people you know or don’t know
It’s important to keep note of why you feel lonely and know ways in which you would want to address it, especially in a pandemic like this year. Life happens, we grow and experience different things, people close to us pass on, we get older, children leave the home, retirement happens and things shift. But all in all we must make sure that when we feel lonely to address it and not feel to suppress it and it’s signs.
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