Did you hear about the new epidemic?
Loneliness has emerged as a modern day epidemic, magnified by the isolation and losses of the COVID pandemic. While our digital devices promise to keep us linked, they are no substitute for the deeper connections that sustain our emotional well-being.
I thrive when I’m with the people I love, and chances are – you probably do, too! Unfortunately, this is getting to be a situation that’s few and far between for far too many. According to reports from just a few months ago, the new epidemic facing the United States today isn’t some kind of bug or a germ – it’s loneliness.
This report put out by the US Department of Health and Human Services found that about half of American adults experienced measurable and regular loneliness even before the Covid-19 pandemic; numbers that have only risen since.
Loneliness isn’t something that only zeroes in on mental health – there are some serious physical consequences that come along with it, too! Poor social connection can increase a person’s risk of heart disease by 29%, a person’s risk of stroke by 32%, and for older folks, it can increase the risk of developing dementia by a whopping 50%. Spending some good old-fashioned quality time with people you love isn’t a treat, it’s a physical necessity! We need connection, and we’ve got to figure out how we’re going to combat this serious issue facing so many.
What We Can Do To Fight Loneliness
We all wish it was as easy to make connections in adulthood as it was in childhood! Back then, you could walk into school and make friends, find friends on the playground, or join up with family members for that much needed social connection time. While it might be a little tougher now, I can vouch that it’s far from impossible!
A few things you can do to find meaningful social connections are:
- Explore your hobbies – Do you love knitting? What about yoga? Are you feeling yourself when you jump into a pool? Your hobbies could be your best key to fighting loneliness. Using your hobby or hobbies as a baseline, seek out clubs or meet-ups in your area with other like-minded hobbyists you can connect with. Whether it’s cooking, gardening, fitness, or ANYTHING – you’ve already got the perfect ice breaker and something you know you have in common!
- Force yourself out of the house – Loneliness can be a funny thing. It can make you want to withdraw socially, taking away from you the very thing you need the most! Forcing yourself out just to walk around a park, visit a grocery store, or run errands where others will be can make you feel less lonely. Becoming a regular walker at the local park can also set you up with the other regulars who may be there doing the very same thing!
- Adopt a pet – Pets have an AMAZING way of encouraging us to do the things we need to do, even if we might not want to do them. If you’re struggling with motivation and you’re feeling lonely, pets offer companionship at home while also setting you up to connect with other pet owners in pet-centric spaces.
By the way, loneliness is very different from being alone. There is such a thing as being in a relationship, but still having feelings of loneliness. So evaluate what’s going on in your life and make adjustments accordingly.
The journey to alleviating loneliness is a personal one, but combating loneliness is essential to protecting your mental and emotional health.
If you’re looking for a community or tribe for support, I’ve cultivated an extraordinary one. Join us on social media: Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube @WendyIdaFitness for regular updates and information.
Put yourself out there, connect, and we’ll have some fun together!
You are always welcome to contact me personally for a complimentary discovery consult as well. -Click here- to book your appointment.