Loneliness is different from being alone or being on your own. Loneliness may happen when you’re surrounded by people.
So what is loneliness. Loneliness is, “the difference between your desired levels of social contact and your actual levels of social contact”. So it’s not just about being with people, it’s about how you connect with people and how they connect with you.
You may experience loneliness during a particular time in your life, maybe after a relationship has ended, you’ve moved to a new area or you’ve changed jobs, or through the pandemic friendships and relationships might have altered.
What can help?
- As strange as it may seem, remember you are not alone. It’s normal to experience loneliness and it’s estimated 40% of people (Ref:Betterhelp) will experience loneliness at some time during their lives
- Loneliness isn’t permanent, there are things you can do to help bring about changes. You can take charge of this, you don’t need to wait for someone else
- Be aware of how lonelieness is affecting you. Is it more tricky to sleep at the moment, are you eating less/more?
- Tell someone you trust how you are feeling
- Think about the opportunities you have to connect with people. Does this feel about the right amount of contact for you?
- Take time to nurture these relationships, and initiate contact with friends or family. Maybe a walk, lunch, coffee or a drink.
- Are there other hobbies, interests or like minded people you’d like to explore more to develop other things in your life
- Try not to compare yourself to others
- Treat yourself with kindness and compassion. Do things that give you joy, or pleasure.
- Notice the small things in your life that you appreciate
- Remember feelings aren’t permanent. However hard or difficult this feels right now, it will pass.
If you are feeling lonely
Know that you’ll always have:
Books to nurture your mind
Hands to create and explore
Wind to calm your soul
Breathes to sooth your nerves
Nature to soak your worries away
Stars to decorate your dreams
There are many organisations offering support. Our own Release Counselling can support you with professional counselling.
Mind has excellent resources and offers support across the UK.
Samaritans offer a 24 hour helpline for people who need someone to talk to.