Living alone can happen by choice or by circumstance and although it can be a blessing for some people, at times it can also be a real challenge.
Living alone, you do have the advantage of absolute freedom to do as you please, watching what you want on TV, eating what you want, napping whenever you want – it can be nice.
But the curse of living alone is, ultimately, being lonely. Living alone can be really challenging and even the most well-balanced of people can struggle with sadness and a sense of isolation. According to AgeUK 3.6 Million people live alone in the UK and 1.9 million of those often feel ignored or isolated. But you don’t have to feel alone or lonely just because you live alone.
So how do you overcome feelings of loneliness? Try asking yourself the following questions:
Are You Leaving The House As Much As You Can?
Sometimes it is easier to stay in and avoid the world, but just walking outside in the sunshine (or even the rain) or to the local shop will lift your mood and remind you that you’re not alone and that there is still much to enjoy.
Do You Feel More Alone Than You Actually Are?
Your mind can play tricks on you when you are on your own and it is important to recognise that these feelings may not be real. You might feel alone, but if you were to contact family and friends, neighbours and people you know socially, they would be there for you. If your mind ever tells you that you are alone, pick up the phone and ring somebody who can help you avoid those feelings and provide reassurance that you aren’t as alone as you might feel.
Have You Reached Out To The Local Community?
If your social circle is lacking, it could be time to reach out to the local community. Look at clubs, coffee mornings and events where you can meet people your age and make new friends. Remember there will be plenty of other people in the same situation also looking for new friendships. You’re never too old to make a new friend.
Are You Giving In To Being Alone?
Are you in a routine of getting up and watching TV, having groceries delivered and never going out? You might have given up because you’ve stopped making the effort to spend time with other people. You might also be worried about being with other people and have developed the habit of avoiding social situations. Recognise your attitude to being alone and be more proactive to avoid loneliness.
Do You Need Help?
Sometimes we can become isolated because we need help. Maybe your physical needs affect your ability to get out, or you don’t know how to reach out to local groups and social opportunities. If you have in home care services your carer will be more than happy to help you gain a social life. If you don’t have any help at home, instead reach out to friends and family to ask for help or to your local community centre, church or other religious group. There are also amazing charities like Friends Of The Elderly and Age UK who will be able to help you. Don’t be afraid to reach out, there are always people who want to help.
Remember that you don’t have to be lonely when you live alone. Be aware of what you are doing and thinking to combat loneliness and don’t be afraid to try new things, there’s always room for a rich and happy social life whatever your age.