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How to cope with loneliness

Tips to help you cope with feelings of loneliness.

If you’ve ever struggled with loneliness, then you’re one of approximately 25 million people in the UK who report feeling lonely at least some of the time1.

Loneliness can affect anyone, at any time, at any stage of life and can be detrimental to our mental and physical health. Research suggests that lack of social connections can increase the likelihood of early death by as much as 26 percent; a comparable risk to smoking 15 cigarettes a day1.

During this years’ Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15th May, 2022), The Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign is encouraging people to ‘Lift Someone Out of Loneliness’ by reminding us of the simple actions that we can take to support others. Here we share some practical advice and tips from Every Mind Matters that may help you, or someone you know, overcome feelings of loneliness.

Reach out and re-connect

Reach out to friends and family for a friendly chat. Perhaps there’s someone you haven’t heard from in a while? Could you reach out to them to remind them that they’re not alone? Could you create a routine to check-in with others, whether it’s in person, over the phone, or as part of a WhatsApp group?

Join a group

Being part of a group, virtual or in-person, is a great way to meet people with similar interests to yourself.  Singing? Dancing? Running? Have a think about which activities you enjoy and search for a group in your area (or online).

Think about the things you enjoy the most

Spending more time doing things you enjoy can stop you focusing so much on feelings of loneliness. Spending time outdoors, doing exercise, learning a language, listening to music or to podcasts are all great ways to boost your mood, overall wellbeing and to occupy your mind.

Share your feelings – but do not compare

Try to find someone to talk to about your feelings, either with someone you know or by calling a support line.  Remember to be cautious with social media. Whilst social media can be a great place to make new connections, it can be easy to compare yourself with someone else’s highlight reel.

Help someone else feel connected

Reach out to others who you think might be feeling lonely. You may be able to help someone else and help yourself at the same time! Consider whether you could make time to volunteer; it’s a great way to meet others and to do something valuable to support your local community.

More advice and details of support services, organisations and helplines is available at: NHS Every Mind Matters

References: https://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/the-facts-on-loneliness/


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