Dealing with Loneliness & Isolation

low-cost counselling, loneliness, isolation

Throughout most of human history, social interaction was all but inescapable. People lived most of their lives in their local area, working with their neighbours, knowing their shopkeepers by name, and all gathering once a week or so to worship. But in the last few decades, the way we interact with other people has changed on a fundamental level, and not just in terms of social media. With cars that can drive us to the bigger, cheaper stores, companies that will deliver anything to our doors, and jobs that can be done in bed, the reasons to get out and socialise have been slowly eroded. While we may be more connected to others than ever before, the reality is that the value of these relationships has been diluted, leading to an increasing number of people to feel lonely or isolated.

One of the most important things to recognise about loneliness and isolation is their potential to be self-perpetuating. The longer someone is withdrawn from social activity, the harder it will be for them to get involved again. For this reason, if you have been experiencing feelings of loneliness or isolation, it is imperative that you confront the issue head-on.

Look After Yourself

As someone remains isolated, it becomes more likely that they will let certain habits slip. People often reason that because they have not left the house that day, there is no reason to shower or clean their clothes. Pretty soon, one day becomes a few, and this becomes the new normal. Similarly, people are more likely to let rubbish, plates, clothes and so on pile up around the house. Eventually, these factors encourage people to become even more withdrawn, as last-minute invitations or unexpected guests are suddenly a source of anxiety, and something to be rejected.

Regardless of whether or not you intend to see people, maintaining good hygiene will improve your frame of mind on a fundamental level, prevent these additional causes of stress, and make it much easier to socialise with other people when the opportunity arises.

Create a Routine

The days of the 9-5 job-for-life have rapidly faded in recent years, with the likes of remote working or mining cryptocurrency becoming more and more popular. While there are many advantages to this, the lack of discipline can be a major drawback. If you can earn the same amount for work done in the afternoon, getting up at 7 seems less appealing. If you don’t need to be up early, there is no reason to go to bed at 10.

Freedom can be appealing, but complete freedom can be a hinderance. It is easy for people to plan to meet when they know that by 5pm on Friday, everyone is free. It is more difficult if one of the group operates on their own schedule. Over time, invites will be rejected and important events missed, and a pattern begins to emerge. The harder people have to work to socialise with you, the less likely they are to do it. So, establish a routine, stick to it, and try to make the most of your designated downtime.

Reach Out

Like so many areas of mental health, loneliness and isolation are not problems that can be easily seen. In reality, there are lots of people who want to spend time with you, they just don’t know you would like to. Additionally, none of the issues discussed here are exclusive to you, or anyone. Loneliness and isolation are increasingly pervasive problems in the modern world, and it is all but certain that you know people going through the same struggles. So, mark birthdays on your calendar, start a Christmas card list, or just say “Hey, we haven’t talked in a while”. With problems like loneliness and isolation, one of the best ways to help yourself could literally be to help others.

If you're dealing with loneliness or isolation, and are interested in low-cost counselling, please get in touch with us today.