Mental Health Awareness Week: How can I combat feelings of loneliness?
Written By Alison Ralph May 2022
Everyone can feel lonely from time to time. Loneliness can be felt when there are people around or when others are not there. It can have serious effect on our mental heatlh, especially when we are not alone by choice. This year’s Mental Health Awareness week is focussed on loneliness. Mentalhealth.org claim that millions of people in the UK are affected by loneliness each year and this has been exacerbated by the COVID19 pandemic. When lockdown hit the UK, we were thrown into isolation and reduced ability to connect with others which has resulted in a higher level of distress.
This blog post will provide you with:
- A tool to identify if loneliness is affecting your mental health
- Suggestions for coping with your loneliness
- Charities you can connect with to combat your loneliness or to help others
- How to support others who are feeling lonely
- Why counselling could be beneficial for you or a loved one who is feeling lonely
Is loneliness effecting your mental health?
Use this tick list to find out if loneliness is having an effect on your mental health. Once you have ticked the ones that apply to you it may help you to gain an understanding of how you are feeling and the reasons why. You may also like to think about how to tackle these feelings and the rest of this blog can help you with that.
I'm lonely, what can I do to help myself?
Complete tasks that you know you will enjoy as a way of keeping you busy. For example, a sport, knitting, reading or playing a musical instrument. Make sure these things are fun and fulfilling.
Trying to do some physical activity can help with loneliness. Whether that is a walk or a dance around the house as this can help you to feel less overwhelmed.
SPEND TIME WITH YOUR PETS
If you have a pet then it can help to spend time with them. They provide unconditional love and support as well as giving you structure to your life. They can also get you out and about where there is a chance you could meet other people.
STIMULATE THE MIND
Completing activities that stimulate the mind can help with loneliness. Taking a course in a topic you are interested in or listening to a podcast of a person whose voice you enjoy or simply listening to some comedy that will make you laugh at the same time too.
Engaging with people you meet in day to day life can really help you to feel less lonely. Whether that is smiling at somebody on your daily walk or saying ‘Hi’ to someone you pass in the street. This may not only give you a lift but the person you are engaging with as well.
Find a group of people or a club that do something you find fun or interesting. When you share an interest with someone else about something it can be easier to talk to them. You may also find that you meet a friend for life!
Charities that can help you to combat loneliness
There are many charities out there that have been designed to help people combat loneliness. So, whether you are reading this blog because you are lonely or because you would like to help others who are lonely these websites might help you in combating that loneliness.
How can you support others who are feeling lonely?
LISTEN AND SHOW UNDERSTANDING
Allow a person to talk about how they are feeling but don’t judge or give opinions. You may find that if you open up that space for them to talk, they will feel more comfortable joining a group with you or venturing out into the open without the feelings still on their shoulders.
If you are a member of a group or a club, try to make them welcoming for others. It can often to daunting joining a new environment and isolating the ‘new’ person will only cause them to feel more lonely.
Telling a person why they might be feeling lonely is not helpful. Allowing them to speak freely and helping them to recognise that they are not alone and that it is common is more likely to be helpful.
How can counselling help with loneliness?
Talking through the way you are feeling in a non-judgemental and understanding environment can be helpful in combating the feelings of loneliness. The counsellor is there to help you come to an understanding of why you feel a certain way and to support you in the process of coming to conclusions about changes you could make.
If you would like to find out more about counselling support I can offer then please get in touch.
When you feel lonely it can have a detrimental effect on your mental well-being and can feel like it will never get better. I hope that following some of these ideas will help you in combating loneliness and finding the interaction with others that you want and need.
If you have knowledge of any other charities or groups/clubs that may be helpful for others, please feel free to comment with your ideas!
Get in touch...
If you are struggling with your mental health and would like to find out how hypnotherapy or counselling could help you I am here to answer all of your questions.