The last few years were very trying for everyone, everywhere. Isolation brought out some frightening realisations about how much most of us thrive on communication; how we rely on conversations and connections with family and friends to cope, as well as our colleagues at work or at the sports centre, or at our local clubs. Even the kindness of strangers!
The stresses of a global pandemic and its aftermath have taken a huge toll on people, whether they’re young or old or somewhere in between. Connection and communication are two of life’s primal needs among others like food and shelter.
Without meaningful relationships, we may become alienated, isolated and lonely.
Building relationships begins in childhood normally starting with our family units (siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews), and moving forward to include friends, colleagues and future life partners. Then the cycle continues, for most people, with grand- and great grand-children. Communication and connection are key benefits of these interactions.a
But what if something happens to them, or to you? Or you don’t have any close relationships? All kinds of situations occur throughout our lives (often not in our control) which can alter our personal relationships and leave us feeling quite alone. But that feeling doesn’t have to last forever.
Think About It
The loss of loved ones, moving away from long-time friends, divorce or separation, job loss, retirement, depression, loneliness, addiction, social barriers, a change in your health status causing an inability to socialise or participate in events or former pastimes. All are part of life’s ups and downs. These and many other situations can often be contributors to a person’s sense of isolation. And often, the longer that lasts, the harder it can become to reach out to others.
It’s important to recognise that there are many options available if we need help. Simply put, trying to solve our emotional problems all by ourselves isn’t necessarily the best route to take.
For the smaller problems perplexing you, you may wish to consider turning to a trusted family member or close friend for advice. Or perhaps if you have a religious affiliation there’s someone of your faith who you regard highly who may be in a position to offer you spiritual and emotional support. Another route to take to combat feelings of loneliness is to join an online chat group or seek out a club you can join.
If your issues are complex or feel overwhelming, seeking advice from your family doctor or a mental health professional may be a better answer. You’ll need to be the judge as to which solution would be best for you. Taking the steps to contact a therapist or support group are well worth the effort. You can try a few different options to discover what you’re most comfortable with (and what works best).
One thing is for certain—ignoring any ongoing mental challenges isn’t healthy or productive. It will take a concerted effort on your part to seek out support in the form of professional help, a good friend or new community connections to build those meaningful relationships and fend off loneliness. If you don’t make the first move, how will others who can help even know you need their support?
Just by making the effort to talk to someone when you feel alone or isolated, you may be able to release some of the tension and negativity that you’re experiencing and feel better.
Benefits Of Talking To Others
Talking also exposes you to new ideas and perspectives which can help with problem solving. Finding someone to talk to will not only provide you with a sense of connection, comfort, and understanding but also bring you opportunities to talk about things like shared experiences and interests. This alone can go a long way in alleviating negative feelings or doubts about yourself. Once one new relationship is formed, others are sure to follow.
Just remember, there are many people who feel the same way as you do and who knows, they may be waiting for you to reach out to them! What are you waiting for?