Loneliness comes in all forms at all ages. You can be healthy and independent but still feel lonely because of things you can’t control – especially during the hectic holiday season.
Maybe your family is visiting the in-laws for the holidays, your spouse is away for work unexpectedly, your grandchildren are too far away, or your partner passed away and it seems like no one is calling. Whatever the case, loneliness is far more common than you might think.
Today, 40% of adults report feeling lonely, and this number is climbing.
While loneliness is common, it’s important to be aware that it can physically hurt you. Feeling lonely increases your risk of cognitive diseases and dementia, and a recent study shows that loneliness is more deadly than obesity; those feeling lonely are nearly twice as likely to die prematurely.
Well we’ve asked many of our members and have come up with some great ways to avoid feeling lonely but also keep busy during the holiday season:
Nothing beats the holiday blues than giving back to the community. You can adopt a pet for some company, help out at your local homeless shelter, or donate to a food drive. Even the smallest acts of kindness can boost your self-esteem, and getting involved will help keep you active.
Looking for more ways to get involved? Check out our blog post on volunteering during the holidays.
If your family is out of town and you’re feeling a little down, invite your friends over! You can entertain them at your place – make it a simple get together, a fun costume party, or a formal gathering – the choice is yours. Setting up and planning for the evening will keep you busy and excited to put some smiles on your friends’ faces.
Click here to get some tips on hosting a stress-free holiday party.
3. Chatting on Skype
If your kids and grandkids live at a distance, chatting on Skype is always a great way to keep in touch and see their faces! Skype lets you make a video call so you can chat and interact with them on the computer screen at the same time.
Click here to learn how to set up Skype on your computer.
Exercising is the best medicine. If you have some time on your hands, you can go to the gym and work up a sweat, or take an exercise class like Yoga. Studies prove that staying active gives you endorphins and makes you feel healthier and happier – in body, mind and soul.
Even just going for a walk is great for your heart and health – grab a friend to come along with you to make it even more fun!
You might also consider taking advantage of the holiday promotions and purchasing a gym membership. (Besides, during the holidays, the gyms are typically empty and you can enjoy the machines all to yourself!)
5. Joining An Online Community
Maybe your friends are gone for the holidays, or you recently moved to a new community and your family is far away. Whatever the case, joining an online group is a great way to meet like-minded people and feel a sense of community.
You can join a group on meetup.com to connect with other individuals from your local area, try an over-50 online forum like the transition network, or become a member of a website like Stitch. Online communities provide a perfect avenue to meet up with other adults who have similar interests.
Just remember, even when you feel alone, you never truly are – thank goodness for the internet!