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Self-Help: 5 Tips for dealing with loneliness

All of us feel lonely from time to time; it's normal. And, in a perfect world, the ideal solution would be to get out there and find your people. But, with the tightening of the COVID-19 restrictions stopping social contact, that's even more tricky than usual. Here are five Oh! Ducky Darling tips to help lift your mood when you're feeling isolated.

Words and illustrations by Rosa Fairfield

Watch films and TV shows

Escaping into a fictional world can help you deal with loneliness. You can find TV characters that you relate to, and that can help if you're feeling like an outsider. If you're isolated due to COVID-19, or for any other reason, fictional TV characters can start to feel like friends. This is something psychologists have been researching in studies from the University at Buffalo and Miami University of Ohio called social surrogacy, where television can be a substitute for friends and family.

The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology says: 'thinking about favored (but not non-favored) television programs buffers against drops in self-esteem and mood and against increases in feelings of rejection commonly elicited by threats to close relationships.'

It's not the ideal long term solution but if you find yourself in quarantine it could help you cope.

Engage in online conversations

Online communication may not be a substitute for real-life interaction but it can be an easy way to find people you have things in common with. You can join a Reddit communicates based around your favourite hobbies and fandoms. You can try to start up conversations with people via social media. There are even apps for finding new friends. Although studies have found that spending time online can cause loneliness in some people so don't rely too heavily on it. You can try voice and video chat if you make some new friends but can't see them because of quarantine restrictions.

Keep busy

It's not good to suppress your feelings but ruminating on them can cause just as much trouble. If you find yourself dwelling on how lonely you feel try distracting yourself with a task and practice self-care. That could be anything for reading a new book to trying a new hobby like solving puzzles. Here are some puzzles to get you started.

Be compassionate towards yourself

When you're feeling lonely it can be frustrating to hear advice about developing hobbies and learning to enjoy your own company. You might already have both of those things sorted and still feel lonely. And that's okay. It's normal to want relationships and to feel a sense of belonging. But, don't blame yourself if you don't have either of those things. Your current situation can change. We don't know what will happen in the future. A year from now the pandemic could be long behind us, or you could have a large social group or be in a happy relationship.

Know that you're never truly alone

Sometimes you can feel all alone, but there are over 7 billion people in the world so you're not. There are people everywhere, sometimes they're even pretty close and there's only a wall separating you from them. And, even if you can't see them right now, know that they are definitely alone and may even be feeling the same way. Don't miss our guide telling you everything you need to know about mortgages.