Hi I’m John and I am a Healthtrainer for the Bridlington team. We all feel lonely from time to time, and many of us have had more of a taste of it than usual during the pandemic, but loneliness is also a very personal and each of us will experience it differently.
Loneliness might be described as the feeling we get when our individual need for satisfying social contact isn’t met. It’s perfectly possible to live a solitary life and be quite happy, and to have people around you all the time but still feel lonely – being lonely isn’t the same thing as being alone.
Loneliness can have many causes – often it’s triggered by a significant life event like changing jobs, retirement or bereavement, or it can be related to particular times of year. Also some people are more vulnerable to loneliness – people with no family, those who are carers, and those experiencing discrimination.
Feeling lonely can affect mental health, especially if it goes on for a long time – feeling depressed, anxious or stressed because of loneliness can make us feel more lonely, and a vicious circle develops.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. Begin by taking small steps, slowly. Talk to someone you know about how you feel, or if you don’t feel comfortable doing that talking therapies and peer support services are available.
Remember it’s not just okay to be you, it’s important! Just because someone else is the life and soul of every party, doesn’t mean you have to be if that’s not for you. And don’t forget what’s on social media is just the bits they want you to see.
Above all, take good care of yourself – sleep enough, eat healthily. Exercise can really lift your spirits – maybe you could join a group. Just being outside in nature can help too, but don’t use alcohol or drugs to take the edge off loneliness – in the end they’ll make you feel worse by getting in the way of you changing things.
Feel like you need a little help tackling loneliness? Our Health Trainers, Community Link Workers and Mental Health and Wellbeing Coaches can all help – just call 0800 9177752, text HEALTHY to 60163 or contact us via the website.