Article by Ceri Wheeldon
Did you know that loneliness is worse for your health than smoking? Isolation can lead to depression, poor sleep quality, obesity, decline in cognitive function, increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
In fact loneliness can increase your risk of death by 26% , and has the equivalent impact on your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Today , more than ever, the pandemic and its restrictions are leading to more people being physically isolated than ever before. The impact on mental health can be enormous.
Lonely is not being alone, it’s the feeling that no one cares.
Connectivity with other people is essential for our wellbeing. With most of us working from home and our social interaction mostly confined to those in our households, and for single individuals limited to contact with their designated social bubble, it can be hard. I will be totally honest and say that I have found the current lockdown incredibly difficult, living alone I haven’t found the limited contact I am able to have with my bubble enough at times and I have had some tearful days, even though I am normally fairly robust, and normally really enjoy living alone.
So, today’s challenge is to ‘Phone a Friend’.
It could be that you are feeling isolated yourself, or that someone you know may be feeling lonely or isolated – especially if living alone. Don’t think that just because you haven’t heard from them in a while that they don’t wish to speak to you – they may be feeling depressed as a result of being isolated and lack the motivation to pick up the phone and initiated a call. Of course it doesn’t just have to a traditional phone call – facetime and WhatsApp video calls work too.
If you look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, love and friendship are fairly prominent when it comes to our needs – landing just about food, shelter and security. The restriction placed on us during the pandemic have meant that the need for social interaction has not been met for many.
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
– Albert Schweitzer
It could be that you have simply lost touch with somebody who may not be feeling isolated at all, but who would still love to hear from you and catch up.
A simple call might be all that someone needs to genuinely lift their spirits ( and yours) in these difficult times.
Who do you want to call today?
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Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs Image credit By Androidmarsexpress – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=93026655