Manning Regional Healthcare Center

Feel Less Lonely This Holiday Season

Much of what makes life worth living was stolen from us this year. Okay, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic, but we should have been going to baseball games, concerts and taking vacations to Mt. Rushmore with a van load of grumpy, ungrateful kids.

Instead, many of us stayed home, hoarding Lysol wipes and watching the news for hopeful signs that this was nearing an end. To top it all off we’ve been inundated (to the point of nausea) by political ads that we can’t escape. Many of our favorite places have been closed, fall football has been weird, it’s getting dark way earlier and it got cold WAY too fast.

Is it any wonder that a lot of us feel some measure of loneliness these days? I have a large extended family and the whole COVID thing has made it difficult (even dangerous) for us all to gather around frail grandparents. Then there’s the political division. I have a cousin who avoids me because I am not in lock step with his political ideologies, it’s all divisive insanity. For many of us, this all seems to be exacerbating an epidemic of loneliness.

For those with substance problems, loneliness is one of the biggest triggers of relapse. For the rest of us, loneliness is an unpleasant emotion that can be difficult to cope with. Humans are very social creatures, we don’t do well in isolation, and we don’t tolerate “lonely” well. But when we’re feeling “off,” being around others can seem taxing. If you (or someone you know) is struggling with loneliness, maybe the following advice (from Claudia Hammond, BBC Radio 4) might help you through a difficult winter.

Nine Ways to Feel Less Lonely

By Claudia Hammond, presenter of Radio 4’s “All in the Mind”

The world’s largest survey on loneliness – the BBC Loneliness Experiment – asked about ways of combatting loneliness which has worked for you or people you know. The following is a list of the top nine ways people have chosen to deal with loneliness.

  1. Find distracting activities or dedicate time to work, study or hobbies
  2. Join a social club or take up new social activities and pastimes
  3. Think positively
  4. Start a conversation with anyone
  5. Talk to friends or family about your feelings
  6. Look for the good in every person you meet
  7. Take time to think about why you feel lonely
  8. Carry on and wait for the feeling to pass
  9. Invite people to do things without fearing rejection

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