We need to talk about loneliness. Between 6% and 18% of the UK population often feel lonely, according to a 2020 report. What’s more, people who felt loneliest before the pandemic hit now have even higher levels of being lonely. Those who are most likely affected tend to be older individuals and single-person households. So, how can you help?
Since we all have more free time than ever before, why not reach out and support the people around you? There are plenty of ways to make a genuine connection with someone. If you want to get started, here are some short and simple ideas you can try.
Support Isolated People Near You
The old saying ‘charity starts at home’ has never been truer. When you’re looking for ways to support lonely individuals, it’s worth starting in your immediate neighbourhood. Should you know about someone who is shielding or living alone, now may be the perfect time to reach out to them and offer them some help. For example, you could ask them whether they need any support when it comes to getting food or essentials.
Taking the time to help people when they need it the most is important. While you may not have got to know your neighbours before now, this simple thing could mean the world to them. You may want to start by posting a quick note through their door with your phone number on it. Explain that you are there for them, should they need you. You never know, your neighbour may simply want someone to talk to—via the phone or letters.
Use Technology to Up Your Game
While you can go with the old school method of writing a note to your neighbours, there is another option. The Nextdoor app is a simple way you can connect with people who live near you. You can share news on the app as well as speaking to individuals near you. Downloading it is a quick way to get in touch with people and find out who needs support.
Aside from having handy advice about your local area, the app’s timeline is packed with posts from people who live near you. Check this area to find out whether any of your neighbours need some extra help right now. For instance, should someone need some help with their shopping or even some advice, they might post about it. You can interact with their posts, arrange ways you can support them, and generally lend a hand.
Set Up a WhatsApp Group for Your Family
Close to your family and loved ones? One of the hardest things about being in lockdown is not being able to see them in real life. A simple way to bridge the gap and stay connected throughout the day is to make a Whatsapp group for your family.
While nothing can truly replace face-to-face interaction, this is an easy way to keep in touch. You can chit-chat throughout the day and share your lockdown experiences. If you’re looking for a way to keep things interesting, here are some ideas you could try:
- Have a baking competition and share pictures of your cakes
- Play a virtual quiz or game via the app
- Watch the same film at the same time and chat about it
- Have a ‘question of the day’ and compare answers
- Host a ‘meme making competition’ and share your designs
The truth of the matter is that lockdown can be extremely boring. Finding ways to entertain yourself and your family members has to be at the top of your priority list. By making things fun and interesting, you can keep the conversation flowing smoothly.
Find Yourself a Walking Partner
According to the latest lockdown guidelines, you can exercise outside with one person from another household so long as you stay two metres apart. Although the weather is chilly, it could be the perfect time to get a walking partner. This is a fun way to socialise with a person outside of your household while also getting some exercise. Why not ask around and see if any of your friends or neighbours want a socially-distanced walk?
If you are lucky enough to live near some beautiful countryside, go for a walk there and see what you can find. Of course, should you live in a city area, you might have to work a little harder to enjoy your walk. You can make a game out of it. Why not write down a ‘bingo list’ of things you hope to see on your walk. For example, you might write down ‘a red car’ or a ‘woman in Ugg boots’. Whoever completes their list first wins the game.
Pick Up the Phone and Make a Call!
When was the last time you called a friend or family member? While you might chat all day long, hearing someone’s voice can make the world of difference. When you next have some down-time (every day in lockdown!), why not schedule a call with someone? You don’t have to stay on the phone long. That’s not the point. The point is that you connect with someone and show them that you are there for them throughout this period.
Get Some Advice from Charities
Looking for some extra help and advice? Fortunately enough, there are plenty of charities and organisations that can help. Many of these have advice on how you can beat loneliness or reach out to those around you. If you need some help to get you started, here are some of the charities that can give you invaluable information:
It’s never been more important to reach out to people and connect with them. Lockdowns are tough on everyone, but are especially hard for people who feel isolated from the people around them. Why not take the time to consider the ways you can lend a hand?