We are just about a week and a half away from Christmas Day. Whilst this can be a truly special and wonderful time to spend with family and friends celebrating, eating too much, sending and receiving gifts, wrapping up warm, watching bad TV, having time off work etc etc for others, this time of year can be filled with dread, sadness, fear and loneliness.
When you are sitting tucking into your Christmas dinner, others may not be so lucky. It can be a sad, lonely and depressing time for some. It isn’t all jolly and light or sparkly and joyous, it can be downright horrible and depressing. This is what we tend to forget. There is such a huge amount of emphasis on family and togetherness but for those where this isn’t possible, it can be one of the hardest times of the year.
There could be a number of reasons for this, and each and every one will be different depending on the individuals circumstances. But what can affect many is loneliness. Not having the connection with family or friends or even the community. Loneliness can affect anyone. There are times when we feel lonely, maybe our families are no longer around or near us, maybe we have moved away and feel isolated in a new area where we don’t know anyone. It could be we just don’t have the time to meet new people and make those connections. We may not have family to connect with or friends and as the years have ticked by, those that were close or near have slowly drifted away.
There are many ways in which we can feel lonely but this isn’t to be confused with being alone. Quite often we are content with being alone and having some time to ourselves as well as enjoying our own company. Other times we want to be immersed in lots of social activities. Loneliness comes from feeling isolated and lacking in social connection. Anxiety may also play a part in it, there may be a desire to be part of social events but due to social anxiety it can be crippling to even try and enter into these situations.
Have a think about the people in your street or neighbourhood. How many do you say hello to regularly? Are there any people you know that live on their own or away from their family? What can we do to help those around us or indeed help people in our community to feel less lonely and isolated? Time. Why not give up some of your free time – maybe an hour a week to visit someone in your community who is particularly vulnerable to feeling lonely. Ok, so you can’t just go knocking on people’s doors asking if they are lonely and would like a new friend, no. Ask around your local area for any groups or charities that offer this service, they will match you to someone and help get the ball rolling. Here are some for you to contact if you are in the UK or Scotland:
Please do have a search online if this is something you are interested in. I know I am looking to do this as it saddens me to think of others who are sitting at home with little or no social interactions throughout their week. I wouldn’t like to be in that situation, so if I can take some time out of my week to chat to someone, then I am more than happy to do so.
If you are feeling lonely and would like to have a chat with someone in your neighbourhood, then please reach out to the charities as well. Is there anyone in the community that you know? What about joining a group, which I know can be difficult but maybe start small, would you want to chat to someone online? There are many online forums and groups for loneliness which are full of supportive people. Sometimes writing about your experience can help others who are in the same situation. I’ve found those in the blogging community are great to talk with and are a friendly bunch if you want to get in touch.
Sarah Millican, the comedian created #joinin on Twitter to help combat loneliness on Christmas Day. It gives people the opportunity to chat to others about anything such as what you are watching, eating, what funny thing your dog did….anything! So don’t be afraid to #joinin.
Thank you for reading and thank you for your time. Please remember those less fortunate than you at this time of year. Taking 10 minutes out of your day to chat to your neighbour, may just make a difference. We should all do our bit to help eliminate loneliness in the community.
Take care and look after you.
Love Emma xx 😃