Hello and welcome to another blog from us here at Bennu. The month of May marks UK Mental health week, this year’s theme is loneliness. In this post we will be sharing with you what exactly is loneliness? Why may we experience loneliness? What is the difference between feeling lonely and just being alone? How to prevent loneliness? As well as different methods you can try to help you when you are experiencing loneliness.
As always, we hope you find this article helpful, feel free to leave a comment on our blog below and share on social media your thoughts with us.
What exactly is loneliness?
Loneliness can be defined as feeling isolated and sad due to our human need of relationships, social interaction and acceptance not being met. It is important to remember that loneliness and being alone are not the same thing. You can be on your own but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are feeling lonely.
All of us may experience loneliness at some point in our lives. However, certain periods in your life may lead to further mental health problems such as: stress, depression and social anxiety, if you leave feelings of loneliness unchecked.
Pre-existing mental health difficulties may also lead to someone feeling isolated and lonely. You may feel the people around you do not understand your mental health difficulties this may lead to you not feeling socially accepted and lonely.
It is also important to remember that although you may have lots of social interaction on your life, you may still experience loneliness. The most important thing is to know what may trigger loneliness for you, and how can you best get support.
What may cause loneliness?
A sudden change in life circumstances and events can trigger loneliness. For example: moving to a new area, starting a new job and not settling in straightaway, a relationship break up, health difficulties limiting your ability to carry out certain activities, retirement and bereavement.
You may also feel lonely because you do not have many family members or friends around you, you may be feeling excluded from social groups due to your class, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability. Your past traumas may also make it hard for you to connect with new people (for example if you have been bullied or abused in the past you may find it hard to trust people and avoid making new relationships. There is support, to help you navigate through this. Please see the usual links section below or get in contact with one of our mental health professionals here).
Some people may experience loneliness at certain times of the year in particular such as the summer holidays or Christmas. We have other articles dedicated to this subject. You can find them here and also linked below in the useful links section.
The Impact of Social Media
In this day and age, we live in it is easy to get into the game of comparison. You may feel that people on social media have many more friends than you do, and this may lead to heightened feelings of loneliness. Remember that social media may not portray ‘real life’. Try your best to stop yourself in your tracks when you find yourself comparing yourself to others, or perhaps consider even taking a break from social media if it is affecting your mental health negatively.
You may have heard the saying prevention is better than cure. When it comes to preventing loneliness frequent interaction with loved ones is healthy and can help to stop deep feelings of loneliness emerging.
Talk to someone personally and professionally – If you notice that you are feeling quite isolated and experiencing loneliness that is affecting your mental health. Opening up to a loved one can help to relieve feelings of loneliness and they may be able to offer words of comfort and advice.
Speak to a professional mental health specialist, such as your GP or consider getting in touch with mental health and well-being services. If you would like to see how we at Bennu can support you further, contact us here and a friendly member of our team will get back to you.
Social groups & Workshops/Classes – Consider joining a group in an area of your interest. For example, participating in a workshop, joining an art class or a book club. This will give you an opportunity to meet new people who you have things in common with and potentially form new relationships. Being in a social setting is also beneficial for your mental health so even if you do not connect with people instantly you may still find this social interaction helps.
Get outside – If you have been feeling isolated indoors just getting out of your home can make all the difference! A local trip to your park or favourite café is a great place to start!
Look after yourself – When we haven’t been taking care of our bodies and minds it may lead to all sorts of health precautions such as loneliness. Take some time to reflect on how you have been treating yourself. Have you been kind to yourself? Are you neglecting self-care? Are you getting enough sleep? You can find our Bennu mental health check in here which takes you through some questions to aid a mental health evaluation. Please note this is not the equivalent to speaking to one of our mental health specialists, however it will help to give you an overall picture on where you may be at mentally.
Consider Therapy – Engaging in therapy is a proven successful way at addressing areas in your life that may be effecting your mental health and state of wellbeing. Therapy helps you to identify themes of your past, present and anything that may be holding you back from a bright future mentally, with the help of a professional guiding you through your unique process. At Bennu we specialise in ‘Arts Therapy’. This includes: Art, Dance, Drama and Music Therapy. Arts therapy is a fantastic way to help aid healing emotionally whilst expressing yourself in ways you may not have even known you had inside you. If this sounds like something you think you would benefit from then please do get in contact with us here and we will get back to you.
We hope that this post has been useful and helped you to understand what loneliness is, the differences between being alone and feeling lonely, and what to do when you are experiencing loneliness.
Below we will have useful links to other related topics as well as other resources you may require.
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Take great care of yourself,
Useful Links For Mental Health
Emergency Mental Health Help
You call UK emergency services by dialling 999