The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘loneliness’, which one in four adults feel some, or all, of the time.
For Mental Health Awareness Week this year, we’re raising awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental health and the ways we can tackle it.
1. Try to do enjoyable things to keep you busy
One way to manage loneliness is by keeping busy with hobbies we enjoy. Even small activities can give you energy and positive feelings if they’re fun or fulfilling.
Be careful not to work too hard or watch TV as a distraction, which will only postpone your feelings and could make you feel worse.
2. Try to do things that stimulate your mind
Occupying your mind can help with loneliness, for example listening to podcasts. This can be stimulating and listening to the familiar voice of someone you like can help you feel less lonely.
3. Think about doing a physical activity
Physical exercise can help with loneliness, even just a walk in the park when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Or you could boost your mood by listening to music and dancing!
4. Try to engage with the people you meet in your daily life.
It can be hard to talk to others when you’re feeling lonely, but trying to connect with people you meet can be helpful. Even catching someone’s eye and saying hi can make you feel better. Sharing a polite greeting might give someone else a positive lift too.
5. Find people that ‘get you’
It can be hard to connect with others when you’re feeling lonely, but there are great benefits in finding people who have been through similar experiences to you. Interacting with others who understand can give you a sense of belonging. Local groups or social media can be useful for these types of connection.
6. Spend time with pets
If you are lucky enough to have a pet, it can be a great way to manage loneliness. As well as providing unconditional love, they can also help to give structure to our days and encourage us to get out and connect with others. Interaction with pets is also shown to help reduce stress levels.
7. Try to use social media in a positive way
Social media can help your mental health, but it can also have a negative impact; the key is to use it in a positive way. Finding online communities with shared interests can help. Be aware of how you feel when you use social media and focus on topics that improve your mood.
8. Talking therapies can help
Talking through your feelings with a counsellor or therapist can help you cope with your feelings of loneliness. Talking therapy can be hard to get – but if you can find a professional, it can be of benefit, and provide you with a safe space to work through your feelings and thoughts without judgement. Check out your local resources by visiting the NHS website.