It is estimated that 1 in 4 adults feel lonely some or all of the time. The past 2 ½ years of the covid crisis probably made this worse for many. The lack of socialisation compounded the feeling of loneliness and has caused mental health problems to be on the increase.
This year Mental Health Foundation is focusing on loneliness. Loneliness is such a personal experience that not everyone’s feelings of loneliness would be the same. Some people like to be by themselves whilst others like to have contact with people all the time. Even then you could be surrounded by family and friends and still feel lonely.
Loneliness can be exacerbated if you have mental health problems, however, at the same time, the feeling of loneliness negatively affects our mental health.
Tips to help overcome the feeling of loneliness
Once you recognise that you are feeling lonely, and it is affecting your mental health, and you are making decisions that is affecting your daily life, reach out. Talking to someone you trust, family or friend might help. The first step is recognizing it and saying you have a problem. Once you do that it allows you and others to get help.
Join an interest group
If you enjoy playing an instrument, or like playing chess, or drawing. There could be an option to take part online in the first instance so you don’t have to feel the pressure of walking into a new environment. Go at a pace that feels right for you, you don’t have to rush into a group setting.
Adopt a pet
Rescuing a dog, cat or sometimes even a bird can help you feel fulfilled. Having some responsibility for another can sometimes give us a sense of fulfillment. Not everyone has the ability to do this but having a new furry friend around you can brighten up anyone.
Get your mind on being supportive to someone. If you do like pets but are unable to house a pet, you can potentially volunteer at a pet sanctuary. Alternatively, you could volunteer at a soup kitchen, doing something kind can help your mental health in a positive way. You take the focus away from you and start to build a good social network with people that have the same interests as you. Leaving the house for a cause that needs you can help ease that feeling of loneliness.
Speak to a professional
Contact your GP, or a support helpline, they will be able to provide advice and get you the right help you need. Getting to the cause of the problem early is much better than leaving it to get worse. There are several organisations that can help and want to help, but you need to take that step and reach out and speak to someone.