After a year and a half of on-and-off lockdowns, periods of self-isolation for many and social distancing, it’s not surprising that many people are experiencing loneliness.
Loneliness is often assumed to just be mean being alone. However, in reality, it is a state of mind. You might not necessarily be ‘alone’ but you feel alone and isolated (1). This can induce people to feel empty, alone, and even unwanted. Although many of us can experience this in the short-term without any additional impact to our mental health, the duration of the pandemic is increasing the risk of long-term loneliness. This is then associated with increased risk of depression, anxiety and stress, all of which can be hard to manage on top of the loneliness (2).
Why is it important to highlight the impact of loneliness? A survey in November last year (before lockdown 3.0) measured that 1 in 4 UK adults said they had experienced feelings of loneliness in the last two weeks (2). Another study found that during the first lockdown over two-thirds of those surveyed felt isolated at least “some of the time”, over half of these people felt isolated “often” (3). When we consider a third lockdown and increased numbers of people isolating (4) since this research, it’s easy to expect that these numbers remain somewhat unchanged.
There are many factors affecting loneliness, but there are some steps we can take to tackling this issue. One of which is to build quality relationships with others (5). Whether it be rebuilding a relationship with an old friend or joining a group, these are all steps to dealing with loneliness. Building better relationships with others will improve our quality of life and can actually increase our likelihood of living longer by 50% compared to those who are isolated (5). Reach out and get involved in your local community, or even get in touch with others via social media. One of the few positives from social media - like Facebook and Instagram - is that they great spaces for creating online communities. Join an online fitness community or finding an online book club are just two ways to build relationships if we can’t be outside in the real world for one reason or another.
Joining a community, like JS Performance (online or outdoor), could be the most life changing decision to make this week. Want to meet new people and build your quality of life? Get in touch today.
“If you surround yourself with positive people who build you up, the sky is the limit.”