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Feelings of Loneliness

Feelings of Loneliness

Many people feel lonely right now. You may be separated from family and friends, separated from co-workers, worksites and your usual patients or clients, spending time in self-isolation, or worried about spreading the virus to others. During pandemics, many healthcare workers also experience stigma from others who think they’ll get sick if they spend time with a healthcare worker. Any of these situations can take a real toll on your mental health.

Changes in how things are done—both changes at work and changes in your daily life—are constant reminders that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and life isn’t the same. These changes can amplify difficult feelings like loneliness, uncertainty, fear, despair, and hopelessness. This is a normal part of any traumatic or challenging situation and you aren’t alone.

Loneliness can be particularly hard right now because we have to take public health measures into consideration. Remedies aren’t as simple as meeting up with a friend or joining a group to meet new people. While loneliness can be very uncomfortable, it’s a feeling. Simple skills and strategies to boost resilience and help lower the volume on feelings like loneliness and help you find well-being despite separation from people you care about.

While loneliness can be very uncomfortable, it’s a feeling. Simple skills and strategies to boost resilience and help lower the volume on feelings like loneliness and help you find well-being despite separation from people you care about.

Seek support

 

One of the most important things you can do is reach out when you need it. It takes a lot of courage to ask for help, but finding the right support can help you feel better. Here are some services and support to try:

  • Care to Speak: Confidential online peer support with healthcare workers who understand what you’re going through. Speak to someone today.
  • PHSA’s Mobile Response Team: 24/7 support for healthcare workers. Call 1-888-686-3022 or email MRT@phsa.ca.
  • Your Family/Employee Assistance Program: Contact your workplace F/EAP provider to see how they can help you.
  • Free and paid counselling and psychotherapy: Visit www.heretohelp.bc.ca/covid-19-mental-health-supports for more on accessing short-term counselling or psychotherapy.
  • BC Mental Health Support Line: Call 310-6789 any time you need to talk to someone. They can also refer you to local mental health services.
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Take Care of Your Health and Well-being

Your physical health and mental health are connected. When you fall behind on healthy eating, sleep, and exercise, you might notice that negative thoughts come up more often. It may be harder to manage stress and harder to find hope and optimism. The times when it’s harder to take care of ourselves are the times we need to the most. Taking care of yourself as well as you can make a big difference.

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Take Time to Breathe

Find space to be still. Take a few minutes every day to disconnect and breathe. You can find simple breathing exercises from HealthLinkBC. Mindfulness is another great skill. If you’re interested in trying mindfulness, there are great apps like MindShift and Headspace to help you get started.

Everyone reacts to anxiety differently, so it is important to take time to recognize what you are going through and understand your own emotions. As difficult as it can be, remember to be kind to yourself. Remember, you are not alone with your feelings. Before you can take care of others, be sure to take care of yourself. Try this article from Psychology Today for practices to maintain your emotional health.

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Focus on One Thing You Can do Right Now to Feel Better

Many people doubt their own strength and resilience in the middle of an emergency. When you feel overwhelmed, think of one thing you can realistically do right now (or by the end of the day) to help yourself feel better. For example, you could message a friend, go for a walk, call a support line, spend time on a hobby, or write a meal plan for the upcoming work week.

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Maintain at Least One or Two Relationships That Lift You Up

People who have lots of friends or intimate partners can still feel lonely if they’re not getting what they need from their relationships. In this time of increased isolation, focus on quality, not quantity. Your usual social routines will have been interrupted. Finding half an hour even once or twice a week to have a virtual tea or coffee by phone, text or video chat with someone you enjoy spending time with can be just what you need to feel less alone. Keep a regular time slot for these connections.

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Distract Yourself

Distraction can be a useful tool when you just feel really bad but can’t fix the problem right away. Watch a movie or show, read your favourite book, listen to music—whatever helps to interrupt negative thoughts and focus your attention on something else.

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Reach Out and Give Back

Helping others can strengthen connections and improve your own mental health. Check-in with friends, family members, and co-workers. Ask them how they’re doing and see if there is anything you can do to help. If a friend, family member, or co-worker is in self-isolation, have a meal or small gift delivered to their home. Simple acts can make a huge difference and remind others that you care about them.

Looking For More?

Free resources to help with your mental health available from your phone

Suicide Prevention Line

Call 1-800-784-2433

If you are considering suicide or are concerned about someone who may be, call the Suicide Prevention line. Someone will be ready to listen and speak to you.

Call 1-800-784-2433 anytime.

Mindshift

Download for iOS or Android

This free app from Anxiety Canada helps users track anxiety daily. You will work through tools while applying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approaches.

Download today for Apple or Android.

Text4Mood

Text Mood to 760-670-3130

If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, Text4Mood sends you a daily inspirational text message to support positive mental health.

To join, text Mood to 760-670-3130.