Loneliness during the festive season can have a big impact on our mental wellbeing.
The demands of any festive season can be challenging because things have different meaning for each of us and we have different expectations.
But spare a thought for someone who feels lonely and isolated, perhaps with no friends or family, or has family and friends, but feels alone inside, struggling with their mental wellbeing.
Mental ill health doesn’t stop or give up at this time, but can intensify and heighten our emotions of sadness, despair, frustration and emptiness. All of these emotions can be complex, for many reasons. For some, it’s not the most wonderful time of the year - in fact, it may feel like the worst.
The Public Health Factsheet from November 2015 identifies that loneliness can be considered as one of the biggest public health concerns that we face, particularly among people that are already vulnerable.
Feeling socially connected is a basic human need, and an approach we adopt at the Shaw Trust in one of our 5 Ways to Wellbeing; Connect. Connectedness contributes to both our positive mental wellbeing and our general health, enables us to feel valued in life, to have a sense of purpose, to increase our self-worth, and strengthen the relationships with have with the people around us.
If you feel lonely, or thinking of ways to help others, here are a few hints and tips to increase your social connectedness and wellbeing.
- Get to know your local community. There are many ways you can connect with people, such as visiting your local library or community centre.
- Instead of sending an email or text, call somebody.
- Visit a family member or friend who may need some support.
- Look out for a neighbour.
- Take time out for some self-reflection and relaxation.
- Have lunch or coffee with colleague.
- Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to reduce social isolation, and loneliness while making a contribution.
- Get online. Using social media can be a positive way to connect with people or peers, who may be going through a similar experience to you. There are also many support networks online..
For further information and advice, Shaw Trust offers a Health and Wellbeing Specialist Advice Service to assist front-line staff with clients’ Health and Wellbeing issues. We can be contacted via our firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional information related to loneliness and its impact on mental health can be found below:
The Campaign to End Loneliness
The National Institute for for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
Mental Health Impact of Social Isolation, Factsheet, Public Health Havering, November 2015 https://www3.havering.gov.uk/Documents/Public-health/PH/docs/Mental-Health.pdf
Health and Wellbeing Practitioner - Scotland