In the UK, 7.4 million adults have reported loneliness since the lockdown and local restrictions began. A recent study also discovered that working-age adults living alone were more likely to experience loneliness ‘often or always’ than the average rate for adults.
tombola has surveyed the British public to see if Brits are getting closer to their neighbours and how to attempt to combat feelings of loneliness.
More than a fifth of Brits between 25 and 44 haven’t been speaking to their neighbours
tombola surveyed 1,000 of the British public and asked if the pandemic had seen them grow closer to their neighbours.
- 22% of people aged between 25-44 haven’t been speaking to their neighbours during the pandemic.
- Only 8% (25-34) and 7% (35-44) stated they had been speaking to their neighbours about the same amount since the pandemic.
- However, the age group that had seen the biggest increase in speaking to their neighbours was those aged 65+. Only 13% in this age group said they haven’t been speaking to their neighbours more during the pandemic.
- Surprisingly, less women than men have been speaking to their neighbours – suggesting more men are understanding the need to speak to someone if they are alone.
Speaking with your neighbours for 10 minutes a day can improve your mental health
tombola spoke to Environmental Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant Lee Chambers to discuss this further, he said: “Relationships are one of the most important elements of how we live and our mental health and wellbeing. Social connection is vital to keeping us happy and healthy as human beings. Having a meaningful connection with our neighbours and community is an excellent boost to our mental health. This is especially true for those who don’t have strong relationships or access to friends and family and prevents isolation which is a significant factor in how mentally well we are.”
How to combat loneliness and build relationships with those closest to you
- Talk to people you don’t know. Environmental Psychologist, Lee Chambers, says: “This can always be a little out of our comfort zone, but a 30 second exchange with the cashier has a really powerful effect on our positivity and feeling of connection.” If you pass your neighbour in the street, ask them how their day has been.
- Help your neighbour. Lee says: “Loneliness starts to fade when we think of other people, and how we can help others.” If you are wondering what more you can do to start building your local community, offer a favour. If you know someone who is vulnerable or elderly, perhaps ask if they would like you to go shopping for them and leave at their door safely.
- Connect with other people who enjoy similar pastimes and have similar mindsets. Lee Chambers says “they will welcome interaction and this will help us to use feeling lonely as a sign to reach out to others.”
- Try going for short walks. If you are able, getting outside can help lift your mood. Breathing fresh air can raise levels of oxygen in your brain. This then boosts the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that alters your mood. Similarly, exercising outdoors helps to produce endorphins.
- Create a happy list. Kiran Singh, Lifestyle Coach, says: “Produce a list of things that make you happy and go to it whenever you feels down. Every time I feel a bit upset or sad, I just go to my list and say ‘maybe I can watch a comedy movie right now to help me pick myself up.”
- Create a positive environment wherever you are. Kiran also says “Living in a nourishing, loving, orderly environment is important to us all, now more than ever before. It is especially important to have our own place of sanctuary in the world, filled with what you love.”