As the Lockdown eases in the UK, there is a risk of a loneliness epidemic. The crisis has made it increasingly difficult for people to maintain social connections especially the older adults and those with underlining health conditions as the Government has told them to ‘self-isolate’ from the outside world.
What to do if you are feeling lonely during the pandemic:
If you have access to internet at home and/or forms of technology, going online is a great way to maintain social interactions with people. Consider doing zoom meetings with friends for supper, pub evenings, virtual sports etc. This can ease any heightened stress or anxiety you may be feeling during this crisis. Or you can visit meetup.com to help you to find people in your area who share mutual interests.
Another useful way to reduce loneliness is through social media platforms:
- ‘Next-door’ is a street WhatsApp group which allows you to meet people within your neighbourhood.
- The ‘Peanut’ app is a great way of helping to maintain conversations, it connects women in motherhood and fertility.
- Mindfulness interventions also reduces loneliness, fostering compassion and improves communication. Mindfulness Apps are easily accessible and inexpensive, the programs are designed to monitor body experiences online and have many acceptance techniques to learn to accept and welcome even uncomfortable thoughts and feelings.
- There is also a number of online quizzes you can join on Facebook. Playing games with other people is one of the most common ways to take your mind off things that may be bothering you and helps you to feel less lonely.
If you don’t feel comfortable interacting online with other people you may want to consider joining a yoga class.There are lots of easily accessible videos to watch on Youtube and/or classes available to join online. Taking up a Yoga class can greatly improve your mental and physical state.
Or if you can’t get outdoors and/or don’t yet feel safe to do so during Covid-19, why not try online countryside browsing. It’s easy to forget what the outdoors look like, when the population has only been going outside of their homes for essential food, medicine and exercise. However, countryside browsing is a useful way to distract your mind from the current situation and instead reminisce places that you enjoy or find aesthetically pleasing.
Nature is always your friend. Having some natural objects at home to hold and look at such as shells, stones, leafs, seedpods can be hugely beneficial to an individual’s mental health. It helps to keep your mind focused on something and it may also be a good relaxing technique. Short walks in outdoor spaces such as the park can immensely improve your mood. You could this with either a friend, a family member or on your own.
While you are outside, there are lots of creative activities you may also want to consider, for example writing your names on leaves and making footpaths out of them to let people know that you were there. This may give a sense of belonging and content.
Hobbies around the house
Doing things that you have a passion for is one of the simplest ways to alter your feelings and emotions from negative to positive. Consider writing, focus on good events, try and write out how you feel and how you would like things to change. Or you may want to talk about it instead, with friends or family you trust either in person or over the phone.
If you enjoy baking or painting this will keep you busy, making you feel less lonely and is very therapeutic. It is also a good source of stress relief. More than ever, in the current situation we need to feel like we haven’t been forgotten, if you own a TV or radio at home it can help you to improve connections within your community and make you feel a part of the outside world.
Most importantly, we must remember to look out for one another, for example offering to go food shopping for a neighbour is a great way to help others out and can be really rewarding!
This is a challenging time but it will pass. Eventually we will all be in each other’s company again, sharing stories, laughter and hugs. For now, we must look after each other and support others who have been experiencing loneliness during lockdown.