The theme for this years’ Mental Health Awareness Week (9-13 May) is “loneliness”, which feels very relevant at this time. Regardless of the reasons, we will all experience loneliness at some point in our lives. It is normal to feel lonely, as humans are very sociable beings, and it’s difficult when we do not spend time with loved ones, or to feel we’re missing those connections. This can leave us feeling empty, sad and isolated. Long periods of loneliness are detrimental for our physical and mental health, and there is still shame and stigma associated to admitting we feel lonely.
We want everyone to know they’re not alone in feeling lonely, and trust you will share these ideas to spark new conversations and bring your team closer together next week….
· Make time for others: if you’re remote working, book in time with colleagues for a simple social gathering, and outside of work plan in time to chat, relax and have fun with a friend or family member, either virtually or in-person. Having something to look forward to reminds us we’re not alone and that new possibilities exist for us to reconnect
· Have a digital detox: people usually only share the positive highlights of their lives online, which can make us feel we’re the only ones struggling. This month, let’s not compare the unedited worst parts of our day to the edited best parts of other people’s lives. If social media is making you feel worse, take a break and find something nurturing to do -the self-care hub is full of ideas that might help
· Reach out: there’s no shame in asking for connection. Sharing your thoughts and feelings will help you feel less alone, and gives the other person the chance to express how they feel too. Pick 2-3 people you want to reconnect with and write down the best ways to contact them. Next time you feel isolated, contact them, even if at first it is just to say “hello…”
· Learn to enjoy your own company: being on our own sometimes is also healthy. Dedicate time to discover activities just for you, for example photography, drawing or reading. Having a solo hobby will help you feel more confident and comfortable being in your own company, which can be satisfying and rewarding
· Plan new experiences: make a ‘bucket list’ of all the people and places you want to visit this year, or if you’re keen to meet new people, volunteering might be a great way to do this - check out local opportunities online with local charities and community groups
· Connect online: if you have access to a phone, tablet or computer, there are many creative ways to connect with people online and try something new - from learning a musical instrument, cooking and exercise classes to joining a book club or film club?
· Dedicated space at the office: consider creating or updating a dedicated space at your office where people can informally connect, for social times or to simply enjoy being quiet together. Do advise if you need further copies of our printed wellbeing materials, which are free to all charity partners.
Leading up to Mental Health Awareness Week and throughout the week, Mind will be sharing information online and on their social media channels (see below).
Find out more on their Mental Health Awareness Day hub, including tips from their Mental Health Practitioners to help manage feelings of loneliness.
If you would like to share your tips please tag us on social media and use this year’s hashtag #IveBeenThere
You can also access lots of resources on the Mental Health Foundation’s website