The following information is based on interview questions and answers for an article on loneliness by features writer Charis Torrance. It was published by Fairlady in July 2020 (click here to view the published article).
Social distancing my well be the new normal for the foreseeable future. For some of us, that means the only human connection we’re getting is with the masked woman behind the Perspex screen at the supermarket till and the UberEats delivery guy. And he just leaves your order at the door and dashes back to his car!
Here’s how to fight feelings of loneliness:
1. Reach out to others
You aren’t the only one having a hard time; others in your life are also in need of a friendly voice. Make a list of people you know who may need extra encouragement or support (especially elderly neighbours or family members and single parents) and contact everyone on the list weekly to see how can support them.
Want to go further? Look around your house and ask yourself: ‘What do I really need to be happy?’ Do you really need 10 pairs of boots? Use the time to declutter and share the excess in your home with vulnerable communities. Not only will you be helping those who might really need it, but the feeling of reaching out to someone else will give you a sense of achievement and satisfaction, which will ultimately improve your mood.
2. Look within
Spend time working on your most important relationship: the one you have with yourself. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. If you aren’t happy with yourself, you’ll never really be happy. This is also the time to let go of emotional baggage. Connect with yourself, and really think about what it is that’s stopping you from living a life worth living.
Often feelings of loneliness can stem from a place of insecurity and even a childhood belief that we’ve never dealt with. A child from a broken home may believe that everyone leaves them and that they will always be alone. Or someone who was bullied may think that they don’t deserve friendship. Be honest with yourself – a great way to start is by keeping a journal and simply writing down your thoughts. Drawing and painting can be great ways to express yourself, and meditation can be a helpful tool in helping you look inward.
3. Find your tribe
It can be scary to put yourself out there, but as a self-help guru, Brené Brown says, ‘
Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change/
Start exploring it. Be the person you are, not the role you’ve taken on to get love or acceptance from anyone else. Look at things you really enjoy: if it’s reading, why not join a virtual book club?
Whatever your passion or interest, you can find an online community – some pubs are even hosting virtual pub quizzes. Try the Meetup app, which connects you with local groups hosting online events so you can meet new people and try new things.
4. Keep busy
All this time alone with your thoughts can quickly lead to overthinking, anxiety, and loneliness. Schedule your day with activities, but also make time for self-care and fun things. Think about simple tasks like deep-cleaning a room, preparing a dish you’ve always wanted to make, coming up with that great business plan or starting a book you’ve meaning to read but never had the time for. Also, by breaking down your day into bite-sized pieces, it will feel more manageable.
But remember, while staying busy is important, taking downtime to switch off your brain is key. And here, technology is your friend. On Spotify and Sticher you can find a podcast about pretty much anything. Download Audible for all your audiobook needs or turn to your favourite streaming service for must-see viewing. If you don’t know where to start, go to page 24 for fantastic suggestions from a few familiar faces.
5. How do you counteract it?
Cut out negative voices, whether that’s people or media, and seek out positive, authentic, uplifting things and people instead. One of the most surprising things you’ll discover while practicing social distancing is who and what actually brings value to your life. so whether it’s Twitter that is making you feel depressed or a ‘friend’ who fuels only negativity about yourself, it’s time to delete, delete, delete.
Carien Hugo-Waring: Transformation Guide
As an accredited Rapid Transformational Therapy PractitionerTM, I would love to journey with you to break free from blockages in your life that cause you to stay stuck in cycles of low mood, low confidence, weight struggles, addictions or even stress caused by traumatic events.