Consumer Health

Mental Health Awareness: Coping with Loneliness

As human beings, we need social connection and a feeling of belonging. The absence of such connections can make us feel lonely, a normal response that can negatively impact our mental health. New realities and lifestyle changes can be challenging for all of us. When our connections with other people are on hold, it is important to find ways to overcome the loneliness.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Set up a meeting time. Schedule a time every day to chat with friends and family. Check in with each other. Talk about your experiences and observations.
  2. Share activities. FaceTime or Zoom.Cook or bake with others. Exercise together. Participating in a group activity, even with just one other person, gives us a sense of community.
  3. Visit a new place online. Take a virtual tour of a national park, botanical garden, or World Heritage site. It can enhance hopefulness and connect you to something you would like to do.
  4. Write letters. Write to yourself or others. Writing down how we are feeling can help us to process our emotions. Let yourself go; you may even surprise yourself.
  5. Engage in an activity you enjoy. Listen to music. Try dancing to raise your mood. Connect in a new way to something that interests you; for example, you might research a favorite subject.
  6. Practice spirituality. Participate in religion or perhaps read a book with a spiritual theme.
  7. Help someone else. Call an elderly neighbor to say hello or to offer to buy groceries. Helping others can raise your spirits and make you feel less isolated.
  8. Connect with nature. Go for a walk and observe the life around you. Listen to the birds, watch the squirrels, smell the plants. Connecting with nature calms us and reminds us that we belong to a larger system and needn’t feel so alone in the world. It can help decrease any anxiety or depression you may be feeling.

“By focusing on the world around us, we become less centered on ourselves and more aware of others,” says Aulendrys Rodriguez, LCSW, an Englewood Health social worker who focuses on population health. “Right now, many people are going through the experience of social isolation at the same time. By using creative tactics to cope with loneliness, we can decrease our anger and frustration and find more empathy and peace.”

She adds, “During this period, as well as at other times in our lives, it is important to come out of ourselves and know we are not alone. We can discover the internal strength to overcome the loneliness.”

Posted June 17, 2020

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