By Juliano Oliveira
Loneliness is a growing problem that the COVID-19 has accentuated. Since the beginning of the pandemic, one in two Australians reported feeling more lonely.
It comes as a subjective sensation often described as not feeling in tune with others or feeling misunderstood by people around you.
“You can feel lonely in a crowd, lonely in your environment, lonely in a marriage, or unheard by others around you,” says Dr Michelle Lim, from Ending Loneliness Together.
Dr Lim affirms that is incorrect to presume that a person who lives alone while working from home is lonely, or that a remote worker who lives with their family must have all the social connection they need.
Another study from Swinburne University and VicHealth showed that more than one in three young adults aged 18 to 25 reported problematic loneliness levels.
The worrying situation might drag more Australians to a bleak universe where human interaction is scarce, shallow and meaningless.
What is the solution?
ReachOut Australia, an organisation specialised in delivering digital mental health and wellbeing programs, suggests some basic steps for getting rid of isolation.
Everything starts with a small talk. “Try just asking the check-out person at the supermarket how their day’s going, or by sending a text to a friend.”
Joining people who share the same habits and hobbies is also a traditional way of connection. “Check out your school, university or local community centre to see if they run any groups you might vibe on.”
Open your mind by saying yes. “Sometimes, when you’re in a loneliness spiral, you might start turning down opportunities to hang out without even realising it.”
Use your writing skills. “Writing is a great way to battle loneliness, as it helps you process your emotions and get a clearer idea of where your head’s at. It is a useful way to deal with feelings of isolation.”
Help others. “Volunteering helps to get you out into the world and connects you with the community around you. There are stacks of charities that need volunteers.”
Dr Michelle Lim raises the fact that the workplace can be a place of loneliness, affecting all employees across different demographics, seniority, and industry.
“If you’re not feeling connected to your workplace, it’s important to look within your inner circle of friends and family, and your local community. And be selective. A lot of people speak to their partners about work issues, but your partner might be the worst person to speak to, whereas a friend might be ideal,” she says.
“It’s about making sure someone has your back. If that culture is created, it will be better for the person concerned, less stress for the manager and better for the organisation.”
Ending Loneliness Together
+(61 2) 9339 6001
+(61 2) 8029 7777
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1300 22 4636
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