This time of year can be lonely, for lots of reasons, if you’re struggling with loneliness here’s five steps you can take to lessen the effects
Christmas and new year is often thought as a big time for parties. Everywhere you look, especially on social media, people are surrounded by loved ones and fun. But what if that’s just not how you feel? Loneliness can be a huge epidemic for people of all ages, even those who may not strike you as the traditional stereotype.
So, what can you do if you are feeling lonely this year? Firstly be honest with friends, family and colleagues about how hard you find this time of year. And then, follow the five steps below.
Reach out to an old friend
Maybe it’s a good pal from a previous job or maybe it’s a college friend you lost touch with, but if you want to widen your social circle and reconnect with those you may have lost touch with, Christmas is the perfect time to do it. From a last minute card to a new year text, there’s plenty of ways you can put yourself out there under the guise of something else.
Go for a walk, a run or a trip to the gym
If possible round up a friend to walk with, but if everybody is busy or you’d rather do it by yourself load up on podcasts, your favourite playlists or an audio book and get moving. We know that exercise releases endorphins and energises our moods but outdoor exercise, in particular, can help with depression. Plus, heading to the gym forces you to interact with other people which is easy to avoid at this time of year.
Make plans in advance
And don’t bail. Arrange to meet a friend for brunch, coffee or even a few drinks and make sure that you stick to the plans, especially on trigger days. If you know that you struggle on a Sunday afternoon, try to make plans with friends or join a class that you don’t want to miss. Recognise what makes you feel lonely and learn to avoid it.
Get out and about
It can be very easy to hibernate at this time of year, and the constant stream of bad movies on TV makes it easy to bunker down and avoid everyone. But if you struggle with loneliness it’s important you push yourself to talk to at least one person a day. Be it a waitress, a shop assistant or somebody on the phone, human interaction will help keep those feelings at bay.
Just because you’re feeling a little lonely doesn’t mean you don’t have things to offer other people. So why not volunteer? Be it in a charity shop, on a helpline or behind the scenes for the charity of your choice there are loads of areas in which you can lend a helping hand. Visiting those in nursing homes or hospitals without family is a very rewarding way to help those less fortunate.