Lonely in lockdown?

Snap lockdowns or simply the long winter months might be making you feel bored and lonely.

If you’re feeling the pain of being on your lonesome, know that you’re actually not alone. One in four Australian adults experience loneliness, according to a report by the Australian Psychological Society and Swinburne University.

Trying some of these antidotes may be just what you need to get beyond an overdose of ‘me time’.

Reflect a little

While you might envy someone with thousands of Instagram followers or fun family photos on Facebook, you may feel most connected when you spend time with one or two friends.  Recognise when you actually feel most connected. Is it when you are having fun in a group? Or having a meaningful one-on-one conversation with someone? Do you enjoy discussing ideas such as in a book club or a political group?

Build more of what makes you feel connected into your everyday life.

Nurture yourself

Feeling lonely is not necessarily a sign that you need to reach out more. It might be you need to connect better with yourself.

Here are a few suggestions for nurturing yourself and connecting to your body, mind, and spirit:

  • Go for a walk in nature;
  • Listen to a piece of music you like;
  • Have a bath or shower by candlelight;
  • Cook something healthy and nutritious;
  • Read something uplifting or watch something that makes you laugh;
  • Sing, paint, dance, snooze, meditate.

Make the most of opportunities

Practice connecting with people wherever you go. Can you find something to say to a shop assistant? Your local barista? A neighbour? Someone walking their dog?

Such connections may not turn into lifelong friendships but they are still a good way to grease your social wheels.

Strengthen existing relationships

Do friends and family members go on the backburner when you’re busy? Make the effort to check in with them more regularly.

Ask what is happening in their life, how they are feeling, and take the time to listen.

Passion projects

Perhaps you’ve been intending to join a new group or learn a new skill. Or you’d like to devote more time to a passion or hobby you love. Use your solo time to come up with a game plan. Join a local Facebook group or find a Meetup group that has similar interests or research community college courses that might connect you with like-minded people. Volunteering is another way to enhance your sense of community. Research organisations or projects that could use a helping hand and reach out.

Notice the good

Rather than dwelling on what isn’t possible or what is not happening, choose to notice the good in your interactions. A stranger let you go ahead of them in the supermarket queue; you shared a laugh with someone; a friend called or sent a message; your boss appreciated your efforts; you enjoyed a Zoom call with your family.

Make an appointment

If you’re struggling with your mental health or feeling social anxiety making an appointment with a therapist is a great step towards feeling less isolated.

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