Beating Loneliness One Step At a Time

Beating Loneliness

Feeling lonely is not a state anyone wants to find themselves in for very long, and for good reason. Not only does feeling lonely make us unhappy, it’s also a recipe for poor physical as well as mental health. Research shows loneliness can detrimentally affect our immune systems, heighten our blood pressure, and increase our cholesterol. What’s more, it can affect not only those who live alone, but those living with families and in permanent relationships. Research shows that those who are most vulnerable to loneliness are adults aged over 65 and young people in the 15-24 age bracket.

Fortunately, there is something we can do to help combat loneliness – in fact, there are numerous ways to stamp out this condition which affects over 40% of people at some stage in their life. If you’re feeling lonely, especially if it’s an ongoing issue, here are some of the many ways you can work towards beating it:

Create a routine

It may sound tedious, but structuring your days with a routine can help you feel less lonely. Thinking ‘what’s next on the agenda’ is a healthy distraction, while completing tasks which you set yourself can help you feel confident and strong. What’s even more important, a routine will keep you on task to staying as healthy as possible with regular sleep and eating patterns.

Identify your ‘lonely times’ of day

Loneliness often takes on a routine of its own, and shows up more strongly at certain times of the day. Once you identify its pattern, you can plan to counteract it. If you feel most lonely in the evening, for instance, make sure you have a gripping book or movie to look forward to. If first thing in the morning is your loneliest time, don’t lie there allowing it to overwhelm you – get up and get active with a walk, a visit to a cafe, or your weekly grocery shop. Simply seeing others and passing pleasantries can help you feel less lonely.

Be a buddy

Healthy relationships are the key to feeling less lonely, and one way to build a key relationship in your life, is to act as a buddy for a young person who needs support (check out your local programme for more information). These formal buddy arrangements exist around the country, and not only do they help you establish a relationship with a young person, they also connect you with the staff of the organisations that facilitate these programmes.

Consider a pet

A pet is a big responsibility, and no one is saying otherwise. Part of feeling less alone, is taking responsibility for another living being, especially one that depends on you. Before you rush into choosing a pet, offer to pet sit for others, or approach your local SPCA to offer to dog walk or provide a temporary home for an animal in their care. You may find you never want to say goodbye to it!

Travel in a group

Travelling in a group is a guaranteed way to find company. The best aspect of this is, at the end of the vacation, you can choose to continue a new found friendship, or simply return to how things were before. To get started, check out Grownups Holidays, and be sure to enquire about opportunities to travel ‘alone, together’.

Find an interest group

Joining an interest group is no guarantee of finding a meaningful relationship, but it does provide company, and simply spending time with, and conversing with others is helpful in combatting loneliness. The big thing to remember, is to give the interest group a fair chance of success before deciding it doesn’t suit you – this means attending several sessions before you make up your mind.

However you decide to tackle loneliness, remember there are others out there who are in the same boat. Your job is to find and connect with them – and we know you can do it!