It’s been a year like no other. The impact of the pandemic goes far and wide; loneliness is no exception. It’s no surprise that more people are reporting increased levels of loneliness and feeling lonely over longer periods. Christmas is another time where feelings of loneliness can be more marked – thus it is not always a happy, joyful time for some people. Loneliness isn’t just about being alone. It’s possible to be alone and not feel lonely. Plus it’s possible to still feel lonely even if you are in company.
Short-term experiences of loneliness while unpleasant do not result in adverse effects to your mental health and wellbeing. It is experiencing chronic loneliness or loneliness over a long period which can be associated with mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Being lonely can also be a stressful experience; too much stress can also be detrimental. All of us need some level of social contact with others. Being connected with others in some way is essential for our survival, as well as to improve our wellbeing.
Many of us have had to adapt the ways that we keep in touch with people, to prevent us from feeling lonely. Using video calls, phone calls or even text messages. Keeping up our social connections when we cannot be in the same room has been ever more important. However, not everyone is tech savvy. Doing good for others will also help your wellbeing. What can you do to help someone who might be lonely? Any gesture like a card or letter that shows you’re thinking about them could make such a difference.