Loneliness becoming more common in lockdown

picture of a woman leaning looking out of a windowAs we begin the process of emerging out of lockdown, this year’s Loneliness Awareness Week is especially pertinent. During lockdown reports of isolation and loneliness increased all around the country, in every age group. Women reported feeling the effects more than men, with a recent review finding that 27% of women surveyed reported they were feeling lonely. Not being able to see family, friends and loved ones during this time has left many people at risk of feeling lonely and isolated.

This year’s campaign is is called ‘One Less Lonely Voice’ – taking the ‘one’ out of loneliness, to signify one less lonely voice and over the course of the week people are being encouraged to reach out in a variety of ways to their friends, family and wider community to strengthen connections and bonds and to reduce the impacts of social isolation.

While some people are able to remind themselves that their loneliness is short lived and because of a situation which is outside of their control, for others this is a more usual situation; the announcement of ‘support bubbles’ drove the point home to them that they have no one that they could combine households with. Chronic loneliness can be described as constantly feeling lonely or alone, separated from others, even when you’re engaging in social situations. These feelings of being separate from and different to others can also be accompanied by feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

When these feelings persist long term, there can be negative impacts to a person’s emotional and physical health. Increased stress levels drive up cortisol in the body leading to higher risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Towards the beginning of the UK lockdown we published an article on the importance of social connection in which we discussed the links between loneliness, stress and the fight-or-flight response. The National Council for Hypnotherapy has a register of qualified and insured therapists who are able to work with you to help you understand and make changes to how you feel and to support you in the process of re-engaging with social networks.

So, if you are finding it difficult to cope with feelings of loneliness and isolation, then it can be helpful to seek out a therapist from the NCH directory who can help you.