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Loneliness Awareness Week 2021

Date Published: 14-06-2021   Published By: OfficeStationery

It is Loneliness Awareness week hosted by the Marmalade Trust and this year it is more important than ever to get talking. 40% of people will not talk about experiencing loneliness. With numbers so high, it is about time we remove the stigma and talk about the fact that we ALL get lonely and this is nothing to be ashamed of.

 

Even if you are surrounded by people, it is possible to still experience loneliness, and this is what some of us still struggle to understand. It can be difficult to talk about being lonely and experiencing loneliness, as it is exactly that, an experience, not a condition. You can’t go to your GP and be given a tablet to fix your loneliness and sometimes that can make it feel even more overwhelming.

 

Unfortunately being lonely can be a vicious cycle. It is known that the longer you feel lonely, the more likely you are to isolate yourself from other people. This then triggers the cycle as you can begin to feel like you are a problem, that there is something wrong with you or that going out to see others can seem intimidating, therefore you end up spending more time alone. If left, this cycle can then lead you to experience more damaging mental health conditions including anxiety or depression which can be harder to overcome.

 

Covid-19 has had a detrimental effect on people's mental health. The main cause for the decline has been loneliness. With self isolating, lockdowns and social distance being 3 of the most enforced rules during the last 14 months, it is no surprise that we have all spent more time alone than ever before. It is reported that in April 2020 a staggering 46.6% of us started working from home in some capacity. This number fluctuated throughout the year and even hit a high of 47% in February 2021. Working from home, although may seem like more fun, left us away from our work colleagues, possibly sitting in a room by ourselves and for the most part, not leaving the house for days on end. Some were ‘lucky’ and able to have daily or weekly video conferences so at least they were able to see others, albeit through a screen, however others were only able to communicate via phone or email. This made it so much easier to pretend and act as if everything was okay. It is so much easier to tell a white lie over the phone to say you’re okay, than to admit that you may be feeling lonely.

 

How do you know if you are experiencing loneliness? Well this can feel different to each person however some things you can look out for are;

  • Do you find that spending time by yourself can be a negative experience?
  • Do you feel as though you have lost confidence in yourself or social skills?
  • Do you have a negative view of yourself or those around you?
  • Do you miss other people but not know how to reach out to talk about it?
  • Do you find yourself spending your free time by yourself when you have the option to be around others?
  • Does seeing other people or going out make you feel overwhelmed or anxious?

Being lonely or experiencing loneliness does not mean that there is something wrong with you. It is a natural emotion to feel and is there to give us a nudge and a reminder to reach out for some social contact.

 

What can you do to help yourself and others? Well to begin with, you can GET TALKING and remove the stigma surrounding loneliness. The only way we can combat this unspoken Pandemic, is to talk about it and spread the word! Is there someone close to you who you may not have spoken to recently that you could reach out to? Are you reading this thinking it might be you that is experiencing loneliness? Don’t be ashamed. Don’t be embarrassed. Feeling lonely is not something to be embarrassed about. Tell someone close to you how you are feeling. With each person you tell, the better you will feel and the easier it will become. Start small, as someone to come over for a coffee in your garden, or go for a walk with them. 

 

You can also help support the charities that are helping to fight loneliness already-

https://www.marmaladetrust.org/law

 

https://letstalkloneliness.co.uk

 

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/

 

https://www.mind.org.uk/



Whatever you decide to do, just remember, the best way to tackle loneliness is to talk about it, accept that loneliness exists and remove the stigma surrounding it.

 

Marmalade Trust (@marmaladetrust) | Twitter

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