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Loneliness Awareness Week: Tips to help young people

This week is Loneliness Awareness Week and our mental health practitioners recently created a resource for schools that we wanted to share to help young people (and much of it is also relevant to adults too) manage their feelings of loneliness at this difficult time.

It is normal to feel lonely sometimes. Humans are very sociable beings, so when we do not see or spend time with people we love and care about – like our family, friends or communities – this can leave us feeling sad and isolated.

Most people, for many different reasons, will experience loneliness in their lives at some point. However, feeling lonely for long periods of time is bad for our physical and mental health. There are lots of ways to beat loneliness though; here are some simple tips to try yourself or share with others:

Reach Out

Do not be afraid or embarrassed to open up and connect with other people. Sharing how you feel will help you feel less alone. By reaching out, you might also give someone else the chance to share how they feel too. Pick two or three people you trust and write down the best ways to contact them. Next time you are feeling lonely, contact at least one of these people, even if at first it is just to say “hi”.

Use Technology

If you have access to a phone, tablet or computer, there are loads of fun ways to connect with other people. Why not try something new, maybe cooking, exercising, joining a book club, or simply watching Netflix with others? The BBC has some other good ideas too.

Be Creative

Use your imagination to find creative ways to keep in touch, whilst keeping to social distancing rules. Could you write a letter? Film and send a video? Or bake biscuits and safely deliver them to a relative, friend or neighbour?

Schedule your social time

Book in time with other people during your week to chat, play, or chill out – either virtually or with the people in your home. This will give you plans to look forward to and help remind you that you are not alone.

Take breaks from social media

On social media, we very often only see the highlights of other people’s lives, which can make us feel like we are the only ones feeling lonely. Don’t compare the unedited worst parts of your day to the edited best bits of other people’s lives though. If social media is making you feel lonelier, look after yourself and take a break from it. Find something relaxing to do instead; here are some ideas if you need inspiration.

Enjoy your own company

Being on your own does not always mean you have to feel lonely. Take some time to discover activities that you might enjoy doing on your own, for example photography, drawing or reading. Having fun and relaxing hobbies you can do by yourself, will help you feel more comfortable being in your own company.

Plan new experiences

Make a ‘bucket list’ of all the people and places you want to visit once it is safe to do so. Is there anyone you have not seen in a while that you could contact now and plan to meet up with again when you are able to? Or maybe you would like to meet new people? Volunteering is a great way to do this; take a look at The Prince’s Trust website for future volunteering opportunities.

You are not alone in feeling lonely. If you want someone to talk to our staff are available –

For young people our Listening Ear Service is available Mon-Fri please call 0161 221 3054 and select option 1 or email us at listenerscyp@manchestermind.org

For adults our Listening Service is available Mon-Fri please call 0161 769 5732

To download the leaflet version of this information please click here.

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