Loneliness and isolation is a complex emotional state that can have a huge impact on individuals who experience it with profound effects on a person’s mental health and wellbeing.
This can be problematic at any time but for many important dates such as anniversary’s, Birthdays or dates such as Christmas the isolation can feel much worse.
The effects of loneliness can be physical as well as psychological and can lead to increased stress, anxiety, frustration and depression. It can encourage people to not take care of themselves either through not washing, bathing etc or with eating, sleeping or being motivated.
Loneliness can be caused by relationship breakdowns, geographic isolation, mobility issues, social disconnection, bereavement or generally a lack of meaningful relationships.
During holidays feelings of loneliness can greatly intensify, people can feel left out of celebrations as they see people seemingly having fun as groups, hear or see events spoken about on TV and radio or be aware that people they do or did know are spending time together.
It is important during these times to seek support and to find ways to improve ones situation, with a number of strategies being of help, such as -
· Join local community events and engage with any social groups, volunteer to work with any groups that match your interests or try something new. Plan a stay in a different setting where you may meet new people or book activities such as to visit the theatre.
· Make contact with loved ones, communicate how you feel, Connect with friends and any family with video calls , messages, telephone or even letters. Consider attempting to reconcile with anyone who your relationship may have broken down with. Attempt to make contact with anyone you miss from your past or who you may have lost contact with.
· Seek professional help and consider therapy or counselling to talk over any feelings and to address the thoughts of loneliness to develop coping mechanisms.
· Restart and interests or hobbies that you may have had especially if there are interests that place you in contact with other individuals or groups of people. Perhaps start a group yourself like a support group and invite others to join such as via social media.
· Practice self-care by engaging in activities that bring you joy and promote self-care such as exercising, practicing mindfulness, yoga, or pamper sessions.
Like many situations loneliness can be spoken about a lot with suggestions made and it is very easy to think that there is nothing you can do to change the situation or nothing that you like the sound of. This is understandable especially for those who have been alone for some time and some ideas may mean that an individual may have to take themselves out of their comfort zone.
However it is hugely beneficial to take steps to change this cycle even with small steps to start with such as just setting yourself small goals to talk to those who may be around you more such as shop staff, people on public transport etc.
It can take some effort to change your situation but this can be hugely rewarding and worthwhile.