The social distancing measures that have been introduced due to the global Covid-19 pandemic is causing millions of people to experience feelings of loneliness. A UK mental health survey revealed that 24% of people had feelings of loneliness during just the first two weeks of lockdown alone. In a matter of weeks, social distancing left millions of people in the UK feeling isolated.
Feeling lonely can be a very distressing experience. And it can be especially so when the global situation is so uncertain and everchanging. So while social distancing is a vital step towards preventing the spread of the Coronavirus, it is crucial that we take steps to lessen the negative effects of loneliness and social isolation during the national lockdown. This article will look at six ways to combat feelings of loneliness:
Helping others can take your mind off of loneliness and shift your focus toward the greater good. And there are many ways you can pay it forward without leaving the house. One of the easiest ways is to regularly check-in with any vulnerable people in your life, such as the elderly. If you are not sure how to be a support, Helping Hands has a great article on how to support the elderly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. So whether it is official volunteering, or just assisting a neighbour, going out of your way to help can make both you and the person you’re helping feel worthwhile and connected.
- Find New Ways To Stay In Contact
Social distancing has us all staying at home far more than usual and keeping two metres away from each other. This means we need to find new ways to connect with people and to stay in touch during this time to buffer against poor mental health. Continuously reaching out to friends and family is key during this challenging time. Whether it’s texting, phoning, or video calling, knowing that the people you care about are still a part of your life now even though you can’t see them is crucial.
- Take Time For Yourself
Adjusting your mindset is one of the most powerful ways someone can combat feelings of loneliness. So rather than view this time as enforced separation from the world, shift your perspective so that it can become an opportunity for self-reflection, growth, and learning. The time could be spent investing in yourself. See this wealth of time as a period to tackle something that takes solitude and time. Remembering that this is temporary, that it will pass, is also a key part of adjusting your mindset.
- Keep Active
The most effective way to protect yourself and prevent the spread of coronavirus is to stay at home. This may cause you to have to pause your normal form of exercise but it doesn’t mean you can’t stay active. Exercise is a great way to lift your mood, reduce stress, and encourages the release of endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemical. There are many home exercises you can do which focus on flexibility, strength, and balance, at varying degrees of intensity.
- Contact Your Neighbours
Getting to know the people who live around you has perhaps never been more important. It can be really reassuring and provide a feeling of safety knowing that there is someone close by who can help you if you need support. Ensure you have the correct and most up to date contact details for your closest neighbours and share yours with them too. It might be worth putting a note with your latest contact details through their letterbox.
- Reach Out For Support
Whatever your circumstances are during lockdown, if you’re feeling isolated, know that you are not alone in your experience. If you find that it’s getting too much to cope with, don’t suffer in silence – reach out to a friend, a family member, a charity, or a mental health worker. Therapy can be a great tool for improving your mental health. A professional therapist can equip you with ways to cope more effectively with loneliness. And although in-person therapy isn’t available right now, there are other online options. The experience might be different but online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy. So if you experience struggles with loneliness, take advantage of the resources out there – you don’t have to go at it alone.
Author: Evelyn James.