Loneliness and lockdown
Feelings of loneliness can strike any of us at any time but coping with it during lockdown is a continuing challenge for people across the country. While many of us live alone or enjoy solitude, many others do not, and the enforced nature of our current restrictions means for many people their support network, whether it is family, friends, colleagues, groups, or anything else, is currently absent.
While loneliness itself isn’t a mental health problem, the two are strongly linked, and feeling lonely can impact on your mental health and increase the risks of depression, anxiety, sleep struggles, stress, self-esteem, and more.
So, how can you manage loneliness during this time?
Firstly, take it easy. You needn’t rush into anything, but instead can try a few different things, such as reaching out to people you might not have been able to see or interact with for many months. This could be family but may also be someone you have a good relationship with at work, or someone you see in a social setting, such as a book group or sports team. You may even find that others are struggling to cope as well and be able to support each other.
Of course, this may not work for everyone, so there are other avenues you can try. While meeting up with a new group is not possible right now, many have swapped for online chats instead, which you can join and listen in to while you build up the confidence to introduce yourself. Or maybe seek out other chat groups – Discord, primarily a place for people playing games to talk, now has thousands of servers for people of all kinds of interests. Try browsing the internet to seek out people with similar passions to you and see if they have an online community to join.
Try to make the most of any free time you currently have and get outside, even for a short walk, if it is possible. Try to reduce fast, sugary foods and make sure you consume plenty of water throughout the day.
Above all else, try your best not to compare yourself to others. It can be a stressor for many people to see other individuals posting lockdown weight loss gains, new baking talents, or home decorations, for example. However, this is not everyone and you shouldn’t feel you need to match what others are doing. Try what you feel comfortable with, try not to put pressure on any outcomes, and if you don’t feel good, try something else or come back to it another time.