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A third of British women struggled with loneliness during lockdown - the pandemic has exacerbated a silent, underlying epidemic. Kate Wills investigates why young single women are silently suffering. Dealing with loneliness can be difficult at the best of times, but after a year spent self-isolating and locked down, the UK is facing a loneliness epidemic. A third of British women have admitted to struggling with loneliness during quarantine, and many are feeling re-entry anxiety , too.
This Loneliness Awareness Week, and following a year that, for some, has been lonelier than ever, we ask: why are young women silently suffering? Next up: keep scrolling as Kate Wills investigates the loneliness epidemic, plus psychologist Michelle Lim and psychotherapist Hilda Burke provide some expert tips and tricks to help you navigate your way from loneliness to connection, too. But I found it deeply lonely. I missed laughing with my friends, the reassurance of my sister, and the hugs from my niece and nephew. I wonder about the effects on our mental health this extended period of self-isolation has brought.
It was when I was newly-single at 33 and working from home, that I first experienced the deep ache of loneliness. But it was desperate nevertheless. Although we associate loneliness with the elderly in care-homes or bullied teenagers spending hours alone in their bedrooms with only the glow of their phones for company, loneliness is actually the biggest concern among millennials and self-isolation has only intensified the problem.
And this was before the coronavirus crisis. Brace yourself while I present the evidence. Loneliness, living alone and poor social connections are as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and worse than obesity Holt-Lunstad, Lonely people are more likely to suffer from dementia, heart disease and depression. Valtorta et al, James et al, Cacioppo et al, Research published by Cambridge University found that loneliness tends to peak at three key times in life — your late 20s, mids and late 80s — spikes which coincide with particular challenges and stresses, such as moving jobs or city, getting divorced, and new motherhood.
Laura, 28, from Bristol, had her dream job in PR, four housemates and lots of friends, but says she still struggled with periods of loneliness. I felt like all my friends were having a better time than me. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it. Having pangs of extreme loneliness felt like an embarrassing secret which revealed the failure I really was.
Feeling lonely can have a negative effect on our mental health and feed into anxiety and depression. In an age dominated by social media, face to face contact with people who can provide meaningful and supportive relationships has never been more important. When I confided in them, most of my friends were shocked that I had felt so alone, and admitted that they were feeling lonely, too. A quick search on Instagram reveals 7. Just opening up the conversation around loneliness can reduce the stigma, and instantly make us feel, well, less alone. But instead, practice talking to strangers, offer more eye contact, open your shoulders and smile.
Although it feels strange at first, seeing a friendly face is much better than sharing WhatsApp memes. Home Reports. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Villabona. Kate Wills investigates why young single women are silently suffering Dealing with loneliness can be difficult at the best of times, but after a year spent self-isolating and locked down, the UK is facing a loneliness epidemic. Related Content. Ever heard of pegging? Why have we all stopped talking about the refugee crisis? Make-up expiry dates: How to tell if your cosmetics are past it. How to contour like a professional make-up artist. How to double your days off work this year.
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Tackling loneliness and social isolation