The current coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown has presented us all with challenges, and for many of us it’s brought the challenge of loneliness into sharp focus.
Working from home and only being allowed to leave for essential travel and shopping has increased these feelings of loneliness. And with loneliness having a detrimental effect on our mental health, it’s really important we look after ourselves and each other.
Creating an awareness of the challenges we face is exactly what Loneliness Awareness Week is designed to do. Hosted by charity the Marmalade Trust, Loneliness Awareness Week takes place this week, 15-19 June. This year’s campaign aims to “empower everyone to understand loneliness one conversation at a time.”
What can we do?
Communication is key, so the Marmalade Trust recommend the following three ways to get involved:
- Social media
Share a post about loneliness, your own experiences or even some tips to help others. If you’re not sure what to say but you want to show your support, you can download and share one of the Marmalade Trust’s social media graphics and include the hashtag #LetsTalkLoneliness.
- Build your understanding
Check out the Marmalade Trust’s Loneliness Awareness Week website to develop your understanding of loneliness and learn how you can help others feel more connected. They have loads of ideas for reaching out to others at home, at work and in the community – from hosting weekly catch-ups and sending letters, to creating Whatsapp groups and joining clubs.
You can sign the Marmalade Trust’s loneliness pledge here. They’re also happy for you to share their graphics on your Facebook or Instagram stories to help keep the conversation going. And don’t forget to tag friends who’ve helped you when you’ve felt lonely.
The more people we can reach, the more people can join the conversation!
It’s good to talk
Although lockdown might not have been a positive experience in itself, hopefully we can take positives from it. Maybe we’re all now more aware of loneliness and what we can do to combat it? We’re not saying you should try to strike up a conversation with every stranger you meet, but you can make sure you speak to your friends and family.
If you feel loneliness is starting to affect your mental health and wellbeing make an appointment to see your GP to make sure you’re getting the right support.