A new baby, job or move; the loss of work or someone we love; or years of being on your own without the social connections we were wired for, can leave us lonely. We can be in a crowd yet feel lonely or in a relationship that isn’t working well. Currently, many of us are spending a lot of time on our own due to Covid-19 as those social activities on the calendar have ground to a halt or we have been asked to work from home or are shielding.
Some people thrive on being on their own. They enjoy their own space. However many experience the crippling pain of not having someone to pick up the phone to, share their life with or have someone check in on them. 9 million of us have experienced this.
Throughout this pandemic, we have been mindful of those who have lost their lives, but it is those who have been left behind that are having to adjust, and on their own. As we are adapting to the new tech available, older people in particular, have far less access to IT, especially if it hasn’t been part of their lives up until this point. We even miss those pleasantries exchanged in our streets, being replaced by mutual checks of social distancing or the next risk coming towards us.
We need to look out for people in our communities and on our streets. A quick phone call, a note through a letterbox or chat over the garden fence makes a world of difference.
Although savvy with technology, 16-24 year olds make up the largest generation who experience loneliness. Social media isn’t always that kind and if you are not scoring high in the popularity contest, as futile as it is, then you can be lonely. Young people face many challenging transition points which can be difficult to navigate. They may not be able to afford to go out and for those not in school, there is little else for young people to do.
Over the coming weeks, if there isn’t more investment to keep people in work, many will lose their jobs, thousands already have. In an age where many spend most of their waking hours working, to be without work is a difficult adjustment for anyone, it brings a real experience of loss – loss of identity, loss of contact with colleagues, loss of money, loss of purpose; loneliness can result.
Loneliness can be present in certain circumstances or with you all the time. It can affect us during a phase in our lives or have a chronic impact every day, bearing down on our mental and physical wellbeing. It doesn’t have to be like this.
For Loneliness Awareness Week, 15 – 21 June 2020, I am asking you to #Take5Minutes and call on a neighbour, someone from work or a member of your family who you think could benefit from a few minutes of your time. Taking 5 minutes to check in with someone, make sure all is well, their needs are met, and most of all letting them know that you care about them. Having someone to talk and listen to blends in with every human instinct. So it’s simple, take 5 minutes out of your day and make a connection. As we build connections we weave a safety net, under society. It’s your call …… are you going to make it?