How to feel less isolated and lonely
– a short guide

This week we have been discussing the importance of mental health and how to deal with the negative emotions that can arise from imbalances. We especially want to examine feelings of isolation and loneliness. The current lockdowns in New Zealand are making it harder, especially for older people, to safely see friends and family as we once did. The World Health Organisation tells us this detrimentally affects our mental health.

Feelings of isolation can be deep and dark, but they’re easy to banish with the right tools! Here’s how to reduce those dark feelings.

  1. Communicate online

According to a study by the University of Alabama, jumping online can be a great way to create much-needed social interaction with friends and family, or just a stranger in the comments section. Using social channels like Facebook and email can help you feel as though you are connecting with someone and no longer as though you are alone.

  1. Call a friend or family member

Call a friend or family member and ask how their day is going. It’s a great way to keep up to date with what is happening in their lives and lets them know that you are thinking of them, which strengthens your relationship. It also reduces your feelings of loneliness and isolation, according to a UK mental health organisation.

  1. Hang out with pets

A study shows that pets’ loyalty and affection can provide great companionship, and, just by being there for you, helps reduce your feelings of loneliness and isolation.

  1. Accept your feelings

Kristalyn Salters from the Eastern Connecticut State University found that accepting feelings can improve emotional health. Be honest with yourself. If you are feeling lonely and accept that you are feeling lonely, you will be able to face them and get over them. Ignoring those feelings allows them to return.

  1. Get support

If you are feeling alone, there are organisations in New Zealand that can help you. They provide support to anyone who needs it and are open all day, every day. Here are their contact details:

  • Healthline 0800 611 116
  • Lifeline 0800 543 354
  • Samaritans 0800 726 666

We hope this short guide gets you started on improving your mental health. If you need more support, there are people you can talk to who care.