Loneliness – A Growing Epidemic

 

Wake up. Check emails. Podcast on commute.

Instagram. Twitter. Facebook. Repeat.

Netflix. Whatsapp. Slide into DMs.

– Connected yet isolated –

In a society where we can be connected to thousands of people with a tap of a screen, it seems somewhat baffling that loneliness is still so prominent. But not only is it a growing problem, it’s also one that has shifted from one generation to another. Previously associated with the elderly a recent study from the office of National statistics found that almost 10% of 16 – 24 year olds in the UK often or always feel lonely, with 22% feeling lonely at intervals three times the amount of those aged over 65. Why is it that even though we have access to every encounter, accaintence and friend right there in the palm of our hand – loneliness is still a reality for so many? Let’s press rewind shall we…

– Tuesday 10th July 2018 –

  • 8.30 Wake up and quickly check emails, messages, social media.
  • 8.45 Jump into shower whilst listening to my Soundcloud playlist.
  • 9.00 Pop on a Youtube video whilst getting ready.
  • 9.30 Eat breakfast, check Instagram *The brunch at Feya looks amazing.*
  • 10.00 Set up my workspace and get cracking!
  • 10.15 Emails, editing, emails, blog post, emails, scheduling.
  • 13.00 Order food shop, check the news, make an ASOS order (oops!)
  • 14.00 Need coffee! Head to cafe across the road.
  • 14.15 “What can I get you?” – “Latte with oat milk please.”

… Have you noticed how large segments of the day can pass by so easily without having had a conversation with a real person? On Tuesday 10th July, 2018 and no doubt countless times before this, it was six hours into my working day until I made any real, face to face human interaction.

Now I don’t want to place all of the blame onto social media (it is how I earn my living after all) but no one can deny the effects is has on our mental health and general well-being. I’ve said time and time again that we should not compare our own lives with those we see on ‘The Gram.’ Instagram after all (along with all of the other social platforms) is a highlight reel of moments we have chosen to share. Realistically however it’s hard to stop yourself. How can you not feel alone when our feeds are full of endless pictures of friends laughing and smiling together whilst you’re scrolling from home on the sofa? In an age where we are constantly connected, engaged and seeing each others lives play out in real time across social media it’s easier to feel left out and not wanted. Another trigger of loneliness is the ever-growing popularity of working remotely. Freelance  life and working from home is on the rise, meaning converstaions with collegues sometimes isn’t an option. From my point of view when I work from home I find my procrastination levels hit an all time high so instead of working at my desk I usually opt for  a cafe or co-working space giving me more opportunitiy to socialise whilst working. Personally my journey with loneliness has had its ups and downs. I actually love having alone time and often seek out those moments, however rewind to four years ago and I remember feeling so low and so lonely. I was still going out a bit and socialising somewhat but work wasn’t going well, I’d recently come out of a long term relationship and I found myself with a lot of time on my hands with no one to spend it with. I remember feeling so embarassed about it at the time because in my mind – ‘who in their 20’s was lonely?’ I’m lucky to have a great friendship group and so managed to get myself out of that funk fairly quickly but it showed me how easy it was to get there. I’ve spoken to many people about the subject of loneliness recently and more often than not, when we share our experiences it’s almost a weight lifted. The taboo and feeling of shame and ‘being pathetic’ disolves and you quickly realise, quite literally you’re not alone. So what can we do about it? As with any problem, I like to remain positive that there’s a solution. For me the first step was to get involved in a group activity. Along with doing work out classes at the gym etc. I also joined a theatre group and began performing in shows with them. Having weekly rehearsals with the same group of people led to making meaningful connections and growing my real life social circle (and not just my following on Instagram.)Dress c/o – Boden, Glasses c/o – Glasses Direct, Shoes – Zara

Photography – Zoe GriffinSo think about what you enjoy doing, go online and find a local group or meet-up and get involved! Say YES to things you wouldn’t normally do and make authentic and genuine interactions. It may take some time but it’ll be worth it. It’s often when we push ourselves out of our comfort zones that we find our sweet spot. So give it a go. If you’re feeling a bit lonely, know there’s absolutely no shame in it. Take a break from life online (yes, even if it’s your job, it’s important to have a digital detox from time to time) put down the phone and get out there!

K x

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