The holiday season may be a time for merry-making, but not so for people who don’t have anyone to spend time with. It could be even worse for those who are single, where chronic isolation and lack of human connection can trigger depressive disorders, anxiety and a host of other issues.
Earlier in the year, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released an 85-page advisory declaring loneliness a new public health epidemic in the country. In Singapore, 66.48 percent of singles feel lonely, according to the 2021 Lunch Actually Annual Dating Survey.
However, being single doesn’t mean having to endure loneliness. Violet Lim, CEO and co-founder of Lunch Actually, the region’s largest lunch dating service, says, ““Singles can overcome loneliness and enjoy satisfying lives filled with connections and personal development by actively creating a support network, participating in meaningful social activities, and practising self-compassion.”
Here, she offers some practical tips to help singles cope with loneliness, and techniques to alleviate it, no matter the time of year.
Develop a robust support system
It’s essential to maintain your current friendships. Reach out to them and plan frequent catch-ups. That said, the support system is not limited to someone or a particular person; it could be communities or organisations related to your interests that may help you get in touch with like-minded others.
Take advantage of technology
Even though we are busy with work and our daily routine, staying connected with family and friends via video calls can foster a closer relationship as compared to text or voice calls. We can also network virtually and participate in online social gatherings.
Get involved in society by volunteering
Commit to a cause that is important to you. In addition to meeting like-minded individuals, helping others can improve your well-being. By being involved in the community, we can connect with people who have a shared desire to make a positive impact in your area.
Find new hobbies and interests
Embrace a new interest or pursue something you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t have the time for. It’s also a great way to meet new people while pursuing personal development.
Self-criticism can occasionally result from loneliness, so try to be compassionate with yourself. Treat oneself with the same compassion and understanding that you would extend to a friend. Meditation and mindfulness are two techniques that assist you in controlling your thoughts and remaining present.
Explore solo travelling
Consider travelling alone to new places. You might meet interesting people along the road, which can be a liberating experience. Feel free to go to restaurants, movies, or events alone, be it dining or engaging in other activities. It’s a chance to unwind by yourself and engage in conversation with others.
Seek professional help if necessary
When you feel like you need help, seek the support of a mental health professional or therapist who can assist you in navigating these feelings if loneliness becomes overpowering and persistent.