This is a quick blog post – as I’m a week late writing this (sorry!) But I want to talk to you about loneliness this week.
It’s a feeling we have all felt. That sinking feeling that you are alone in a group of people, that you are unwanted, annoying or unloved. Loneliness has been found to be strongly correlated with depression. Andrew Solomon even comments that depression is a disease of loneliness.
One in 10 people said they do not have a close friend. This amounts to 4.7 million people in the UK feeling ‘lonely’.
So here are my top six tips on combating loneliness
Make plans. If you are feeling lonely, plan. Whether that’s with a friend, partner, acquaintance or just doing something alone, staying busy can help combat your feelings of loneliness. This might be going shopping, having coffee, or doing something new where you can meet people, like yoga classes or a life drawing night.
Hug a furry friend. One of the most beneficial aspects of owning a pet is companionship. While dogs and cats cannot provide tangible or informational support they can provide emotional support. For those with depression, animals can help individuals feel loved, feel a sense of responsibility, and keep them active.
Text or call that friend you’ve been missing. We all forget to text back. Or we miss someone and do nothing about it. Chances are they would be happy to hear from you. Even if you just tell them something about your day that is totally random, I’m sure they would love to receive a cheeky text from a friend.
Make the best of who is around you. If you best friend is away or busy, enjoy the company of those around you. We all get into a bit of a slump if your friends are busy or are away, but you don’t have to feel alone. Talk to that colleague in the lift, speak to your clients about something different or try learn something new about an acquaintance. Just having one small meaningful conversation can make you feel a lot better about your day.
Of course, when you see your best friend again, you hug them till they struggle to breathe.
Use different medias to keep in touch with mates. Sending a post card or a letter to an old friend can fill your time and feels rather authentic. It is one of the most wonderful feeling to receive a post card that you didn’t expect from a friend, just them telling you about the weather or what they have been up to. Plus, you have something tangible that makes you feel loved, and you can put them on your walls!
Force yourself out of your house. Even if you really don’t want to go to that party, or don’t feel like having coffee with that old friend – Go! Sometimes in order to feel better you have to force yourself to feel a little worse at first. You’ll discover that once you get there, you do enjoy it. I have found that I won’t go to something because I’m afraid I wont have as much fun as if I stay in and do nothing. Which is ridiculous. Be afraid, but still go! Next time you wont feel as bad, and you might just enjoy yourself.
I hope you all feel a little less lonely after reading this. You are not alone.
Love Em (the Little Blogger) x
Ps. It’s also okay to be alone sometimes – here is a link to a blog post on why it’s great to be alone too!