9 Ways To Beat Loneliness

9 Ways To Beat Loneliness

Social isolation may help to preserve our physical health, but there’s no disputing loneliness is a huge factor in our mental wellbeing. Whether you’re on lockdown on your own, with housemates or family, no-one is exempt from feelings of isolation. We went to three mental health experts to find out how to cope…

Change Your Mind-set

“Try to redefine your emotions during this time, moving away from loneliness – which indicates we are missing something and need something else to feel whole and complete – and towards solitude and silence, a chance to grow and know yourself better. When the world is slowing down, so can you. Now there are fewer distractions, take the opportunity to fill your mind by reading, listening to podcasts and finding online courses. You can’t lose if you’re learning and it will really keep your mind busy and productive.” – Fiona Lamb, clinical hypnotherapist 

Take Control

“At a time when you can’t control what’s going on in the news, you can control your environment – the food you eat, the clothes you wear, and your internal state. You are in control of your inner stillness and peace, so learn to use your mind to engage your imagination in a productive way. Healing and emotional resilience strengthens in silence. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to learn to meditate, now’s the time.” – Fiona Lamb  

Be Digital Savvy

“Try to make a meaningful connection every day – call a loved one, join an online group or volunteer to help in your local community. Also, be mindful of your time. Use it with intention and be mindful of what you're choosing to read online and who you interact with. The digital world we are now living in allows us to connect with so many – do so consciously and be discerning.” – Fiona Arrigo, psychotherapist and healer

Create Rituals

“In these extraordinary times, during which many of us will feel vulnerable and overwhelmed, integrating ritual into your day is crucial for optimal wellbeing. Even something as small as making yourself a cup of tea in the morning or going out for a walk after work can help to create some form of stability. Use this time to go inward and create space for yourself – watch the way your feelings change throughout the day, without judgement, simply observing and connecting with yourself.” – Fiona Arrigo

Take Time To Connect

“It may sound obvious, but if you are self-isolating with other people, it’s essential to make time for quality communication. By listening, asking questions, using eye contact or loving gestures and showing interest in each other’s lives, you can create a safe place for each other, helping us all feel heard and understood. Touch also releases a wave of oxytocin, our feel-good hormone, so make the most of a good hug and don’t underestimate the therapeutic power of time spent with your pets, too.” – Suzy Reading, chartered psychologist

Get Creative

“Whether it’s repainting furniture, cooking or putting together a vision board, stimulating your creativity will stop the over-active analytical part of your mind from overthinking and worrying. The average person has around 60,000 thoughts per day – a creative task can help focus the mind, and is often compared to meditation due to its calming effects on the brain and body. These activities release dopamine, a natural anti-depressant.” – Fiona Lamb 

Stay Present

“Humans have a biological need for belonging and connection – it literally feeds the soul. Loneliness is a signal we need to plug back in and experience our shared humanity. Stay present in your loved ones’ lives with text messages and emails. Savour the past by sharing images of a happy shared memory – send it to a loved one and reminisce together. Anticipate the future by sharing hopes with people you care about, even if you don’t know when that might be, just plant the seed.” – Suzy Reading

Edit Your Social Media

“A carefully curated social media feed can be the source of shared experience, reminding us we aren’t alone. Podcasts and TED talks can also provide you with the opportunity to link up with a community that shares your values and beliefs – connecting with kindred spirits is crucial in these testing times. Just remember to be mindful of the impact of screen time on your ability to relax and sleep.” – Suzy Reading

Support Those In Need

“Remember connection isn’t a one-way street. It’s not just about receiving – the act of giving also boosts our health and wellbeing. Ask yourself how you can be of service, who needs your help, what kindness you can extend and you’ll feel not only a boost to your self-esteem but the nourishment from a deep sense of belonging and connection.” – Suzy Reading 

If you need immediate mental health support, the Samaritans are available on 116 123; you can also email them at jo@samaritans.org. Due to the current outbreak, branch visits are currently suspended but the phone lines are very much open and the team is ready to listen.  

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