Monday, January 20, 2020
All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong? Eleanor Rigby, The Beatles
At one point or another, we've most likely all felt lonely. Some may feel embarrassed to admit it. I think it's a product of the World we've designed. Having just broken up with my partner of five years that I moved halfway around the World to be with, I can certainly say I know what loneliness feels like.
It may seem a bit counterintuitive that loneliness can also find those seemingly surrounded with friends.
But loneliness is a feeling and feelings are subjective.
I remember the first time I moved to a new country. I moved to France for university, and I made a lot of new friends quickly, but forming deep connections takes time. As a consequence, I felt lonely at times then too.
While the feelings of loneliness may be rooted in a lacking social connection, the cause, or type of relationship you are missing can make it harder to identify.
Loneliness might be caused by external circumstances; however, it only has to do with you. What you are thinking and what you are feeling.
Meditation has gained mainstream popularity in recent years, though if you've never tried before, I warmly recommend Headspace. I've been using their app daily for about five years, and it's been worth every second.
One of my favourite practices is to reflect on others who are in a situation similar to mine. And it really doesn't matter how you describe it, being in a foreign country, far away from home or missing your best friends. It brings me a sense of connection for not being alone in my condition.
If meditation isn't for you, another step I've recently taken to improve my feelings in loneliness is practicing the skills of forming meaningful relationships.
For a while, I forgot how keen social skills need to be practiced and maintained to forge stronger friendships.
Whether it means investing time with friends you've drifted away from, or meeting new ones. Being a foreigner to this city I live in, I signed up for a product called Bumble BFF that helps you connect with others looking to make new friends.
I realise some of these methods can feel a bit overwhelming to some, and that's ok.
A low-risk option to work your way up from could be joining an online support community. After my breakup, I found comfort in an app called UpLiftNow.
I suggest experimenting and taking time to find what works for you.
What will work is also highly dependent on what stage in life you're in, and it's never too soon to start working towards achieving high-quality relationships.
For every year after you reach your thirties, the importance of the quality of your relationships impacts the quality of your life exponentially.1
My parents are just turning 70, and like many of their generation, they are divorced and single. They are at a very high risk of experiencing chronic loneliness.
Senior loneliness can be very grave and a particular hard cycle to break out of. Perhaps you already read a previous post on
Seniors regularly experiencing loneliness are much more likely to require long-term care, experience illness, cognitive decline, and dementia.
If it were easy to get out of this cycle the increase of loneliness wouldn't be rising so steadfastly. Since the 1980s. Which correlates with both the rise in the consumer tech products and the increase in single-individual household.
More importantly, the health implications are genuinely devastating.
But this post has gotten long so more on this in a future blog post.
One of the reasons we started Mon Tonton was to build a supportive community for those transitioning into retirement.
We want to improve the feeling of wellbeing in our community by building confidence, connection, and skills so that everyone can feel part of their changing cities.
We're on an ambitious mission to reduce loneliness and isolation.
As we grow in local communities and cities, our members bring each other together to bridge social, generational, digital, and cultural divides.
If you're interested in being an organiser, facilitator or just a participant, please get in touch with us!