How is loneliness affecting your world? Awareness is the first step to making a change.
Holidays trigger all kinds of behaviors.
Do you feel you must be with family?
Do you feel isolated if you live away from family?
Do you dislike some of your family and don’t want to be near them?
In my spin class, the conversation was on how you please everyone at holidays. They were sharing how the worst in families come out. Tempers rise and feelings get hurt. And, how you manage having your whole family together when you have adult children with in-laws.
Humans have a need for connection. This is a time of year where there are typically more social interactions. But it doesn’t look the same for everyone.
Extroverts love all the interactions. Introverts feel pressured to have to attend certain functions.
In the age range of over 65, I read where over 5 million people live alone.
In the last 50 years, loneliness has doubled. The literature is saying it is epidemic.
Loneliness is where you feel like you don’t belong whether that’s from feeling different, not having a partner or you are in a new situation.
Think about times you might feel lonely. What do you need?
Remember, there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. Loneliness is in the lower energy range, sadness and depression. Being alone can bring you peace and creativity.
The lack of quality relationships can be a major factor in loneliness. It is hard to be alone ALL the time. Don’t dismiss your feelings.
The holidays highlight that even more.
Check in with yourself and see on a scale of 1-10 if you feel lonely. Notice your behaviors - are you covering up your loneliness with gambling, social media or overeating.
Find help. Stop the momentum and spiral. There are healthy ways to restore your well-being.
I read in the USA TODAY that, “Loneliness cuts life expectancy by about the same amount as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and more than obesity. It is also associated with a greater risk of heart disease, depression, anxiety and dementia.”
There are studies that show the time spent on social media has added to the statistics of loneliness because it can create depression and affect your moods. People compare themselves and feel like they are missing out.
Also, people reach out through their phones, thinking it will provide the deeper connections people need or are craving for. It doesn’t.
People need face to face interactions, feel valued and know they matter to someone.
To be happy, people need to have intimate bonds and feel like you belong.
What would that look like for you? Are there groups doing things you like and you could develop some close relationships? Is it moving to an active over 55 living space that has activities and lots of people in the same situation as you are?
Use this holiday season as a time to build new relationships. Healthy ones.
Take care of yourself. Invest in yourself. Commit to when you notice you are falling into the loneliness pit that you will make a new choice.
Decide you will reach out and connect with others who are alone and soon you will know exactly what you need to overcome any feelings of loneliness or being alone.
Let’s stop this epidemic. Be a part of the solution for yourself and others.