Loneliness is something we all experience. But we all experience it differently. It’s important to distinguish the difference between loneliness and being alone. We can be alone by choice, some prefer it. Loneliness is a feeling that our social world is not addressed in the way we expect, want, or need. This helps us understand the phrase, feeling lonely in a sea of people.
While for some, this holiday season will be a chance to remedy the missed social festivities that COVID so cruelly stole from many of us last year but for others, this year may bring the same barriers and may feel this year is the same, or more isolating.
Some are shielding, desperately avoiding the virus and its new, unknown variants because they are at more risk of serious illness if they were to contract the virus. For some, it’s typically a lonely time – those of us who are old, in a new city, or those who experience difficulties making friends - who may not be swimming in invitations to parties with close friends and family, parties to celebrate the festive season. Those of us who associate the holiday season with painful heartbreak, loss, or sadness.
We need to be aware that, for some, the gap between those who have and have not can seem cavernous.
Social media is a blessing and a curse – we can be quick to doom scroll and compare our seemingly drastically different lives. It can be useful to remember that social media is filtered, an edited version of life. Reach out to those who may feel alone, or feel low. Be mindful to balance giving with preserving time for ourselves – we need to take time out ourselves where we can.
We must be mindful to prioritise and preserve our own mental health and reach out and practice active listening where we can.
If you need support this Christmas help is there, please contact:
Samaritans - https://www.samaritans.org/
Mind - https://www.mind.org.uk/
Age UK - https://www.ageuk.org.uk/