During the winter months, feelings of loneliness can be a common experience. This can directly impact our physical and mental health, which is why finding ways to combat feelings of loneliness are a crucial tool for your Self-Care toolkit.
Here are five tips from our Community Connections team that you can try today.
Loneliness can be exacerbated when individuals experience anxiety and/or depression. Practicing meditation, mindfulness, or breathing exercises can help alleviate some symptoms and open the door to helpful and supportive interactions with others.
Here is a breathing exercise you can try – on a count of five, pull in a breath (imagine pulling in your tummy towards your spine) from the diaphragm through the nose, hold it for a count of five, then exhale it over a count of five. Repeat this process five times and then assess how you are feeling physically, emotionally, and mentally. If you do not feel better repeat the process for as many rounds as necessary to do so.
Connect with your Community
Engaging with others in a productive environment brings purpose to your life, boosts your mood, and will improve your mental and physical health.
Here are a few ways you can get involved with your community:
- Attend a workshop or event hosted by Community Connections. Click here to view our upcoming in-person and virtual events.
- Call a family member, friend or neighbour to catch up and/or make a plan to go on an outing together
- Visit your local public library
- Volunteer at an organization you’re passionate about
Spend Time Outside
Research has found that spending time in nature can help relieve the distress associated with loneliness and social isolation. Observing wildlife and scenery, and finding space outdoors can help you feel connected to the greater environment. Though the winter months can be chilly, bundle up and take a 10–15-minute walk around your neighbourhood.
Reframe the Feeling of Loneliness as a Positive
View loneliness as an opportunity to practice self-awareness, self-reflection, self-discovery, and self-acceptance through the negative experience of loneliness.
For example, if you are thinking I never see any of my family and friends, try viewing it as an opportunity to plan a visit or make a call to reconnect.
To learn more about reframing your thoughts, click here.
Practice Self-Kindness, Mindfulness, and Common Humanity
Self-compassion is a practice that involves being kind and understanding to ourselves when we go through challenging experiences. It has three components:
- Self-kindness – we are supportive and encouraging instead of being critical towards ourselves
- Common Humanity – involves recognizing that pain is part of a shared human experience and that we are not alone in our feelings.
- Mindfulness –encourages us to “allow” our thoughts and emotions to be there instead of avoiding them.
For more information on self-compassion, click here.
To learn more about loneliness, visit our Coping with Loneliness page. If feelings of loneliness are affecting your life or someone you know, please consider reaching out for support. We are here to help!
Community Connections is a recovery-oriented drop-in hub organized to help individuals (16+) improve their mental health and overall wellness. This is offered in a safe, empowering environment through participation in social and recreational activities. To learn more and view our upcoming free, drop-in workshops, click here.