Loneliness is the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week running from May 9th -15th.
The isolation during the pandemic and the subsequent slow re-emergence to normal life, which now includes a huge increase in working from home, has inevitably created more loneliness in our communities. Loneliness affects millions of people in the UK every year and is a key driver of poor mental health.
As survivors of domestic abuse, loneliness can be a significant issue. It is quite likely that you were isolated from friends and family for a long period of time and leaving your abuser and starting again can also feel very lonely especially when people don’t understand what you have been through or if you are lacking support from your friends or church - every day can feel like a struggle all alone.
One way to reduce a sense of loneliness is to rebuild community in our lives and this can be done through a careful plan of action - I call it the ‘baby steps plan towards better mental health and wellbeing’. Healing comes over time and often in small increments that eventually creates a beautiful new life. Building back community in our lives relieves our sense of aloneness and loneliness.
How to do this?
- If friends are not reaching out to you - try reaching out to them - invite them for a short coffee. How are they doing? Are they feeling lonely or stressed?
- Do you have a hobby that has fallen by the wayside - go to MeetUps ( www.meetup.com) and see if there are like minded people near you - a ready made community to join.
- Is there a jogging or exercise group near you that you could join?
- Could you volunteer your time for a cause close to your heart?
- Find a church that welcomes you and where you could get involved.
If all of these things feel too hard - then just take a smaller step. Speak to a neighbour and talk about the weather - that’s a start!! Phone a family member you like and haven’t spoken to in a while.
Each small step will give you confidence for a bigger step, with the aim to form one meaningful connection at a time, which will eventually rebuild a community around you - a community that will allow you to heal and thrive.
We can help you take a small step
If you are a female survivor of domestic abuse consider joining Restored’s online Survivors Network for an understanding community. You can engage slowly - with baby steps.
Signing up just means you get emails every other week. Then, if you choose, you can join our Facebook group for real conversations with other survivors. If you're ready for more, you could join one of our wellbeing groups or recovery courses. It's community - one baby step at a time, at your pace. We'd love to get to know you.
Clic is a free online community to support everyone with their mental health through a variety of resources and are available to chat 24 hrs a day.
You can help someone in our network find community