The 9th to 15th May 2022 is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s campaign by the Mental Health Foundation focuses on raising awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental health.
It is now reported that ONE in FOUR adults feel lonely some or all of the time. Higher rates of loneliness have been reported in younger people (16-24) who said they often or always felt lonely. The longer we feel like this the greater we are at risk of mental health problems.
Loneliness can affect anyone, at any time. The coronavirus pandemic has increased our feelings of loneliness more than ever. Lockdowns, social distancing, and restrictions on travel and gatherings have taken their toll on us – particularly those who have been isolating or shielding.
If you’re feeling lonely, the following 5 tips can help. Everyone is different, so what works for some, may not work for you. You’ll need to put some work in to find out what does work for you.
Tips to improve your mental health
Do things you enjoy to keep busy
Fill your day doing more things you like and enjoy. Fun activities like gardening, reading, jigsaws and knitting can give you positive feelings. Spending time outdoors is a great way to relax your mind and put you in a positive mood. Why not join a walking group, biking club or even book a gym class? These can all help you to make and build connections with others too.
Be physically active
Evidence shows that being physically active is not only great for your health and fitness, but also your mental wellbeing. It raises your self-esteem and can help to positively change your mood. It is not all about putting in hard sessions at the local gym. You can try running by doing a couch to 5K programme, or contact your local pool and start swimming. Whether it is dancing, cycling or badminton, an activity you enjoy will benefit your body and mind.
Learn something new
You want to do something that stops you thinking about negative things. If you enjoy learning with others, you could join a class for arts and crafts, cookery, or even learn to play a musical instrument. You could also try learning a new language. Not only will you learn a new skill but it is a good way to spend time with others and build connections.
Enjoy time with pets
Pets can be a great way of managing loneliness as they give structure to our days and provide us with love and support. They encourage us to get out, which allows us to engage with other people. Studies have also shown that caring for a pet relieves stress, anxiety and depression, and can also lower blood pressure.
Give to others
Acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing. They create positive feelings and a sense of reward. They help you connect with other people and give you a feeling of purpose. You could volunteer as a marshal at your local parkrun or help out at a school or local club. You could even offer to help someone you know with a DIY project. Small acts of kindness have an incredibly positive effect.
How online training can help
At i2Comply we feel all employees should understand more about mental health conditions and the impact these can have in the workplace. This knowledge will help them to support colleagues and to adopt positive mental health strategies in the workplace.
We offer the following online courses: