It doesn’t take a genius to realise that loneliness is bad for you. But for those of us who live alone and spend long periods of time away from our family, here are five top tips to embrace solitude and stay happy and healthy.
- Keep in touch
Yep, sounds obvious, and it’s probably easier said than done, but if you want to avoid the feelings of isolation that can creep in, make an effort to keep in touch with friends and family. There are so many ways to stay involved in other people’s lives when separated by distance – phone calls, Skype and social media. Pick your favourite or mix and match, and get cracking.
- Have a hobby
If you haven’t already got one – find one, quick. Doesn’t matter what it is as long as you find it vaguely interesting. You’re more likely to meet people you have something in common with if it’s something you like. You also won’t resent spending time on it, so the chance are you’ll stick at it.
- Stay social
This one feels a bit weird at first but you get used to it. One of the reasons loneliness is self perpetuating is that often when we feel down all we want to do is stay at home in our PJs eating Maltesers (just me?). Here’s the thing – doing something, even on your own, is going to make you feel better than just sitting around. Join a gym, go to the cinema, take a walk – whatever. You never know, you might bump into someone nice.
Charities all over the country are looking for people to donate their time to help make the world a better place. Give yourself a rosy glow on the inside and get involved. There are a lot of different options available so choose something that reflects your own interests. Age Concern run a ‘befriending’ scheme, so you could even help someone else avoid loneliness.
- Make the most of it
Being on your own has a number of advantages. You can pick what you want to see on the TV. Everything stays exactly where you left it. Having breakfast cereal for dinner and spending large amounts of time in your pants are both perfectly acceptable. Learn to love it.