Do you feel lonely?

One in ten over-65s feel chronically lonely all the time, yet most suffer in silence, through fear of being a nuisance

“feeling lonely” could harm your body as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Apparently it can cause heart disease, stroke, dementia, and even affect the immune system.

I think about many seniors who have been lonely, especially during COVID lockdown and I talked to a few seniors on the phone during lockdown and some of them cried even though we have never met. I felt really sad about that.


Being alone makes people feel invaluable and hopeless - how can we break this? Here are some suggestions


1. Get a sunshine

Go out and get sun on you - pack a cup of tea on your thermo bottle, biscuits and blanket and go down to the park. Enjoy this and watch people passing by.

Go for a walk with NIP walkers : get some regular exercise as it will improve your feelings too.


2. Kind to people

Give smile and say hi when you get eye contact with a stranger. (I learned this from some kind New Zealanders on the street). Honestly it make me feel good.

3. Make small talk

Practice small talk with cashiers and the other people you encounter throughout your day. When you go into your favorite coffee shop, make a simple comment about the weather or the music that’s playing. Don’t think of this as a time to start a long conversation, more as a way of making those brief, seemingly impersonal interactions a bit more friendly and inviting. It can decrease the feeling of loneliness as you’re building your social network in other areas. Plus, if you practice this small talk in a variety of situations, it’s easier to start a conversation with people you think you want to become friends with. It’s a win-win.

Darin Bergen, clinical psychologist


4. Learning something

Do you feel like you are too old to learn something? No!! Never stop learning. Learn something as it will give you inspiration, joy and some opportunities to meet other people. Learn to make sculptures, drawing and maybe up-skill your computer competency.


5. Get comfortable with your own company sometimes.

A lot of people crave company - almost anyone’s company - because they fear the ‘void’ and discomfort when they are alone. But getting together with others as a desperate attempt to not be in one’s own company will just leave you feeling more lonely. So, learn to enjoy your own company.

Some good ways to start: meditation class, take yourself to a movie, reading, watch TED Talks or other things that will make you think, start a gratitude journal. Focus on things to be grateful for rather than wishing for what you presently have is a great lesson in appreciation. Also, do something freeing: dance naked, eat messy food in bed, O.D. on junk TV.


6. Join social clubs

There are social clubs for seiners - lawn bowling, chess clubs, book clubs, knitting clubs, movie clubs and art clubs.

https://www.heartsandminds.org.nz/directory-of-support-services/itemlist/category/73-older-adults

https://www.grownups.co.nz/directory/view/social-club/

I think that the most of people in modern society feel lonely and lost sometimes. I remembered I was there and still I feel lonely sometimes. It is very important you try to break it by doing something rather than going deep into the sadness. I trust all BC2 members stay active and love yourself.