Local counselling experts Theresa Hughes and Julie York have provided a number of interesting and informative articles for us over the last couple of months. We are grateful to them for giving us their thoughts once again, this time on managing loneliness.
At the time of writing, Dame Vera Lynn has sadly passed away and the lyrics of her most famous song seem particularly poignant. While the easing of lockdown restrictions has enabled some of us to hug elderly parents or grandchildren for the first time in months, not everyone is as lucky, and many are still facing the curse of loneliness.
Loneliness was a growing problem before lockdown, and it is known to lead to increased physical and mental health problems. Here are some ways that might help:
• Appreciate what you have – the sunshine, the rain (good for the garden!) birdsong, happy memories, old photos and earlier positive life experiences.
• Listen to music- songs you enjoy will boost your mood.
• Listen to the radio – people feel more connected to radio than TV.
• Keep in regular touch with friends and loved ones – pick up the phone or chat over the garden fence to stay connected.
• Reach out to a befriending service (see below).
• Go outside if possible and make use of the wonderful parks in our area.
• Join a virtual choir e.g. Havering Singers (details below) – singing is good for your mental health and helps you feel connected.
• Read or listen to books – stick with your favourite genre/authors or try something different. Swap books with a neighbour or friend.
• Make time to eat and sleep well and exercise. There are even ballet classes for ‘Silver Swans’ (see below).
• Practice Mindfulness or Mediation – resources are on YouTube or apps (e.g. Headspace, Insight Timer).
• Volunteer your time – helping others increases our sense of connection and mental wellbeing, while decreasing loneliness.
These are challenging times, particularly if you suffer from loneliness. We hope this article may inspire you to reach out, to look after yourself and perhaps help others and between us we can come out of this stronger and more connected. We will meet again.
Below are links to some suggested websites –