Lockdown loneliness: what to do about feeling alone now the clocks have gone back
Loneliness is a big mental health factor for many of us at the moment. And since the clocks went back on Sunday 25th October, many more people are reporting that they are feeling lonely and isolated in lockdown.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 4.2million adults are "always or often" lonely. That is compared to 2.6million before the pandemic, and it seems to be getting worse as the days have become shorter.
The reduced daylight hours can make it less appealing to go out, and the lack of sunshine has profound impacts on our physical and mental health.
Lockdown has also, obviously, greatly reduced many avenues for social contact.
Two and ahead million adults says that they have not left their home for any reason in the previous seven days.
Interestingly, this lockdown loneliness might be affecting young people as much as older adults, going against the stereotype or misconception.
ONS surveys (4,000 people) found that the young were more likely to feel cut off: 16 to 29-year-olds twice were people over 70 to be feeling lonely during the coronavirus pandemic.
There can be a stigma attached to loneliness, which might feel more painful for younger people. After all, older people are always telling you this is the time of your life etc etc. But it might not feel that way if you are unable to work, see your friends, go to college or school.
What can we do?
Making contact or connection with others could be a benefit. It can feel very hard to reach out and ask for help but other people might also be feeling the same and would be glad to hear from you.
Trying to get out every day, even if it is just for a few minutes, can make the feelings of being alone seem not so overwhelming. Maybe consider starting small, just popping out for a few seconds.
Connecting with people online is a way to feel less alone and might not seem so daunting. This could be via email or social media. Try to find groups of people online with common interests and see if you can connect that way.
Bear in mind also though that social media can give a skewed version of others' lives: people might not be living such wonderful and desirable lives as they present. Don't be pressured into comparing your life with other people's.
Try to bear in mind that the lockdown and Covid will not last forever, focusing on the things that you can change and trying to be kind to yourself and realistic about the things you can't.
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