It’s Loneliness Awareness Week!
When it comes to our health, other people matter. Research indicates prolonged loneliness and isolation can increase the risk of premature death by around 30%.*
Contrary to popular belief, it is not just older people who struggle with loneliness.* Loneliness has many faces and most of us will experience it at some point in our life. If you’re feeling lonely, read on to find out how you can help yourself feel more connected to those around you:
Volunteering is a great way to make a difference in your local community. Not only this, but it can help create a bigger sense of purpose and can put you in touch with other volunteers who share the same mission and values. For example, you could consider becoming a befriender. Many people who struggle with loneliness or isolation may find it difficult to change their situation on their own due to mobility, illness or transport issues – so offering up your time to get to know someone on a long term basis can help you both feel less lonely. Visit the “Do-It” website to look for volunteering opportunities near you
Join a social group
Whatever your hobby or interest may be, have a look on the MeetUp website to see if there is a local group you can join. If there isn’t, why not try something new? Joining a group can help you build social confidence and meet others with similar interests.
Use technology to connect with others
We often hear that it’s harder to connect with people face-to-face in an age of social media, and it’s true that it’s easy to get into a habit of only ever texting, messaging or emailing people – but technology has also provided new ways to stay in touch with others and make new friends too. Making the effort to call or use video chat apps such as Skype and FaceTime is a great way of staying in touch with friends and family, particularly if you live far apart. What’s more – there are lots of online communities for all types of hobbies and interests that you can use to interact with like-minded people from all over the world.
Reach out to people you already know
We don’t all have close family members and friends to fall back on when we’re feeling lonely – but most of us know someone. Whether that be an old friend you’ve lost touch with, a colleague or even an acquaintance you may want to get to know better – it only takes a bit of courage to reach out to them with a short text or email to see how they are.
Go back to school
Taking a night, weekend or even online class can put you in touch with a new group of people who are interested in learning the same skill.
Remember, be open to forming new connections with people from all walks of life. You never know who you might hit it off with if you have enough in common!