Loneliness is not just about being alone. It is about feeling isolated, disconnected, and even losing meaning in our daily life.
It is an internal and subjective experience. And unsurprisingly, a lot of us are experiencing it right now, especially young people. Some surveys suggest that up to half of us are feeling lonely across the world RIGHT NOW.
But living in the midst of a pandemic doesn’t mean we HAVE to be lonely. Here are a few evidence based tips to help.
1-Get out in public safely (distanced, masked, outside) and engage in small conversations and interactions. You might go for a walk 🌳 and say hi to others 👋🏿. You might just go to get a coffee ☕ and drink it outside. By doing this, you are recreating the multitude of interactions you used to have when out in public: the coffee shop, the office chatter, and even the commute.
2-Tune into virtual events and meetings 💻, even if you don’t want to do so 👩💻. Put it on in the background. This can help create the feeling of being around others even when you are not with people.
3-Text 📱 or call 📞 someone when you are thinking about them. It can be brief, but reaching out to others can help them and help you to feel like you are helping someone. You don’t have to offer anything. You could just text something like, “I have been thinking of you.” Think of how you feel when you receive messages like this. And if you want to connect on a video call, here are some tips that are always helpful for some of us (Nerdy Girls included), who struggle with technology.
4-Engage on social media wisely 🤳🏾. Use it to connect with others. Join a group based on your interests or use social media to write about something you love. Just make sure to limit it and also engage with people outside of social media. A general rule of thumb is to stay on it for no more than 30 minutes a day.
5-Connect with older adults 🖇️. Research tells us that inter generational communication can promote well being for both the younger and older person. If you are an older adult and would like to receive calls from others to chat and communicate, you can even sign up here to do so.
6-Join a 💁🏽 support group 🤝. Depending on your specific needs, you may join one based on mental health needs. The NAMI helpline can help you find resources for support: 1-800-950-NAMI. There are also many for substance and alcohol use that can help you connect with others going through the same struggles. The SAMHSA helpline can assist you in finding groups (English and Spanish): 1-800-662-4357.
7-Talk about your experience with others and/or ✍️ write it down 📔. Sharing your story can help. And it helps break down stigma.
8-Engage with others through art and 🎭 self-expression 📽️. The Un-Lonely project offers ways for people to help others, connect through film, and gives ideas for decreasing loneliness among different groups.
Loneliness isn’t something new, but we need new strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep it from worsening.
❓ And we would love to hear what works best for you too. Tell us your thoughts in the comments below ⬇️
Stay safe. Stay sane.
Those Nerdy Girls
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (Español: 1-888-628-9454; Hearing Support: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
Resources from the UK: