Did you know this week is Mental Health Awareness Week? This year’s theme is raising awareness of the impact loneliness has on our mental health, with one in four adults feeling lonely some or all of the time. Dealing with loneliness at any stage of our lives can be really tough, so we’ve come up with 9 useful ways to tackle loneliness for Mental Health Awareness Week. Hopefully, these coping strategies and resources will be helpful if you or someone you know is struggling.
1. Rediscover an activity that brings you joy
First up in our useful ways to tackle loneliness is to do something that brings you joy. Whether that’s puzzling or painting, occupying your mind with activities that you enjoy and keep you busy can help ease those feelings of loneliness, giving you positivity and energy. Loneliness can be all-consuming, so rediscovering something you used to love to do can be an idea instead of feeling overwhelmed by the idea of starting something new.
2. Spend time with an animal companion
It’s a well-known fact that spending time with animals can help reduce feelings of loneliness, decrease stress levels, and boost your mind through their cute companionship (not that we need any persuading!). There are many mental and physical health benefits to owning or adopting a four-legged friend, from having a reason to get out for some fresh air to allowing you to connect with other pet owners. Not quite ready for a pet? You can try apps like Borrow My Doggy or head to a local petting zoo.
3. Join a like-minded group or club
If you’re experiencing loneliness, finding a group or a club where you can connect with others over a passion you share can be a source of great comfort and belonging. Try having a little search on social media or online to discover perhaps your local book club or a particular sports club where you can socialise and talk to others whilst doing something you both love.
4. Volunteer at something
Another of our useful ways to tackle loneliness is by offering others around you a helping hand in a no-pressure environment. Volunteering is a brilliant way to give back and support your local community. Not only does it help you build lasting relationships with those around you, it can also combat the feeling of loneliness by giving you a wonderful sense of purpose. Why not check out Good Gym, a community of volunteers who get fit whilst doing good!
5. Look after yourself physically
Remembering to make yourself a priority and to practise self-care is a brilliant way to combat the feeling of loneliness. From a relaxing spa day to going to the salon to get your nails done to simply just doing your hair and make-up at home, looking after yourself physically is a another one of our useful ways to tackle loneliness and give your wellbeing a boost.
6. Step away from social media comparison
As great as social media can be for staying connected and up-to-date with family and friends, it can leave us sometimes comparing what we’re doing or not doing to others around us. Make it a place that leaves you feeling positive and uplifted, only following people, groups and communities that bring you joy, and switch off if it is negatively affecting how you are feeling.
7. Spend some grounding time in nature
When things feel overwhelming, surrounding yourself with nature can be a great way to combat loneliness, whether that’s in your garden or your local park. Helping improve your wellbeing and spending time outside can be very cathartic, taking the time to stop and observe all Mother Nature has to offer. Why not sign up to RHS or National Trust, where you can visit plenty of different gardens and sites across the country?
8. Fill your space with sound
Turn up the volume! Popping on a podcast you enjoy or your favourite playlist can help to create a social atmosphere, filling your home with background noise that’ll make it instantly feel more connected, vibrant and lively. Helping to ease the feelings of loneliness and give your mood a boost, sounds really are good for the soul. Fancy giving it a go? Check out these songs guaranteed to make you happy and our stationery playlist on Spotify.
9. Remind yourself this feeling isn’t forever
And finally in our useful ways to tackle loneliness is to remind yourself this feeling will not last. Sometimes it might feel like being lonely is never-ending, but it’s a worthwhile task to remind yourself that this feeling is just temporary. Take the time to acknowledge that, and even saying it aloud can be really quite relieving. This too will pass.
We hope these 9 useful ways to tackle loneliness for Mental Health Awareness Week have helped. Whilst there are different coping mechanisms, loneliness is a real problem and nobody should suffer in silence. There are plenty of charities available to help. You can contact Mind on 0300 123 3393 or Samaritans on 116 123.
If you have any resources or tips you think we should know about, please share them in the comments below!
You can also join in with Mental Health Awareness Week, which is organised by the Mental Health Foundation on social media by using the hashtag #IveBeenThere
P.S. Here’s a summary to save if you want to look back at it or share with anyone who might find it helpful.