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MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK – FOCUS ON LONELINESS

About Mental Health Awareness Week

The Mental Health Foundation started Mental Health Awareness Week 21 years ago and we continue to set the theme, organise and host the week. It has grown to become one of the biggest awareness weeks across the UK and globally.

Together we can tackle loneliness

One in four adults feel lonely some or all of the time. There’s no single cause and there’s no one solution. After all, we’re all different! But, the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems. Some people are also at higher risk of feeling lonely than others.

For Mental Health Awareness Week this year, we’re raising awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental health and the practical steps we can take to address it.

How to cope with loneliness and improve your mental health

Dealing with loneliness can be difficult. But there are things we can all do to cope with loneliness and prevent some of the negative feelings and mental health problems that can come with it.

The Mental Health Foundation have worked with people who have experienced loneliness to develop some help and advice that you might find useful for yourself or to support other people who are feeling lonely.

Help and advice on how to cope with loneliness and improve your mental health

Dealing with loneliness can be difficult. But there are things we can all do to cope with loneliness and prevent some of the negative feelings and mental health problems that can come with it. Here are some coping strategies that you might find useful.

1. Try to do some enjoyable things that will keep you busy

One way of trying to manage loneliness is by keeping busy and doing things we enjoy. This might be a hobby such as a bit of gardening, going to the gym or even sorting out your kitchen cupboards, jigsaws, puzzles or knitting. Small activities can give you energy and positive feelings. It’s important these things are fun or fulfilling.

Be careful about working too hard or watching TV shows simply as a distraction. These will only delay or suppress your feelings and could actually make your mental health worse.

2. Try to do things that stimulate your mind

Activities that occupy your mind can help with loneliness. This can include the  benefits of taking courses or listening to podcasts on topics from comedy to fitness. This can be stimulating and something as simple as listening to the familiar voice of someone you like can help you feel less lonely.

3. Think about doing a physical activity

Physical exercise can help with loneliness. It can be as simple as having a walk in the park when you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. Alternatively, you could listen to music and do a bit of dancing around your living room. (Be aware of your neighbours though!)

4. Try to engage with the people you meet in your daily life.

It can be hard to talk to others when you’re feeling lonely. However, trying to connect with the people you meet as you go about your day can be helpful. Even catching someone’s eye and saying “hi” as you walk along can make you feel better. Or it could be about saying hello to the postwomen or postman or going to the shops and talking to the person at the checkout. By sharing a polite greeting – you might find you give someone else a positive lift too.

5. Find people that ‘get you’

It can be hard to connect with others when you’re feeling lonely. But there are great benefits in finding people who have been through similar experiences to you. Interacting with others that ‘get’ you can give you a sense of belonging that may be missing. People who have been there have found connections in local groups or social media.

6. Spend time with pets

If you are lucky enough to have a pet, it can be a great way of managing loneliness. Not only do animals provide us with unconditional love and support, but they also help to give structure to our days and even encourage us to get out and connect with others. Interaction with pets is also shown to help reduce stress levels.

7. Try to use social media in a positive way

Social media can help your mental health. But it can also affect it negatively. The key is to use it in a positive way. Finding digital  communities, you share interests and passions with can help. Most importantly be aware of how you feel when you use social media and focus on topics and activities that work best for you.

8. Talking therapies can help

Talking through your feelings with a counsellor or therapist can help you cope with your feelings of loneliness. Talking therapy can be hard to get – but if you can find a professional, it can really be of benefit. It’ll provide you with a safe space to work through your feelings and thoughts without judgement. Check out your local resources by visiting the NHS website.

May 10, 2022 | Categories: Lighthouse News | mental health,   
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For further information call Lighthouse: 01634 260 631 or email: info@lighthousesafety.co.uk

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