Energise and Socialise

Activity the Answer to Loneliness

You may find that you are alone by choice, or that distance, or the passing of a loved one has left you by yourself. You may also discover, despite having some company, and activity, that you are still encountering moments of loneliness.

In its more severe forms, loneliness can manifest itself as a symptom of depression impacting negatively your day-to-day life and function. It can be a frightening thing, and may lead to reduced levels of motivation and willingness to engage with and overcome our own issues.

Depression

Signs of depression often appear as a feeling of helplessness and loneliness. This negative mindset will reduce your motivation to socialize, so it is important that when these feelings come up that you are prepared and able to defect them. If you begin to feel the onset of a bad day; heavy heart, loss of emotional control, lack of motivation…whatever it is for you, recognize it and do something else to help you get out of your slump before you really fall into it.

Socialise

Overcoming depression and loneliness starts with accepting ourselves on a fundamental level; in understanding ourselves as independent but social creatures. We require contact with other humans, and while life has both happy and sad moments, the downs should never inhibit the ups. Being lonely is occasionally a normal part of ageing, often triggered by moving to a new place or losing a partner, friend, or family member.

If you are alone because you are far from family or have sustained a loss, then there are ways to improve your social circle. Try stepping up and find someone who you can share your thoughts with. If this means making a phone call, then do so. If it means organizing a coffee date with friends, then organize it. You may even find that your local area offers social activities for seniors, or that younger groups would love to have you around. Try offering to read at local junior schools, or help in a tuck shop. Maybe try checking out a pet-shelter, or even offer to do some gardening work at your local park.

Energise

The next thing you can do to combat loneliness and depression is to get out. Even going to pick up groceries, or going to the mall, having a walk around town, riding public transport, or taking yourself out to tea. You simply need to get out and be amongst other people. Even if you are living alone, that should not stop you from doing and pursuing what you love. There is a cliché little sign that says, “don’t be afraid of getting older – be afraid of getting boring”. The message is delivered en masse, but it is an important one.

Boredom leads to loneliness, and loneliness can breed depression. If you find yourself alone, it is important to see such solitude as an opportunity to pursue your own passions. You are not limited by your alone time. Try something new:

  • Take up an instrument
  • Learn a language
  • Bake
  • Draw
  • Start a new hobby or resume an old one.

Simply get moving. Physical activity, even gentle walking, will assist in the production of endorphins. These ‘feel good’ hormones will assist with a more positive mood and sensation of being in control. Not only does activity give your mind a break, but it helps your body support your emotional states. Take a look and ask around, see if there are any group activities in your area such as Tai-Chi, a walking group, swimming clubs, or cycling activities.

You could also volunteer at a local hospital or op-shop, take up painting, baking, or fower arranging, get involved at a local sports club to help organize and support members, or even start up your own club for like-minded people in your area.

You do not have to be lonely. We all feel loneliness at one point or another, but the emotion is fleeting and one that can be managed. Take steps toward a more positive mindset and look after your head, your body, and your heart.

O50s
Australian Over 50s Living & Lifestyle Guide

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