Positive relationships with friends and family help us thrive. Without social connections, it’s easy to feel lonely or isolated.
Many of us have been spending more time alone in our homes lately. While anyone can feel lonely, certain factors increase your risk. Major life changes or losses can increase feelings of loneliness.
Older adults are at greater risk because they’re more likely to live alone. Mobility issues can make it harder to leave the house. And sensory issues like vision and hearing loss can contribute to feeling isolated.
No matter what your age, it’s important for your health to stay socially connected. Loneliness can take a toll. It’s linked to higher rates of depression and heart disease, and can weaken your immune system. Here are some strategies to help stay connected if you’re feeling lonely.
Feeling lonely or being isolated are bad for your health. Loneliness and social isolation have been associated with higher rates of depression, a weakened immune system, heart disease, dementia, and early death.
Are you at risk? Try to stay active and better connected if you:
- live alone or are unable to leave your home
- feel alone or disconnected from others
- recently experienced a major loss or change
- are a caregiver
- lack a sense of purpose
Ideas for staying connected
Find an activity that you enjoy or learn something new. You might have fun and meet people who like to do the same thing.
- Get moving! Exercise decreases stress, boosts your mood, and increases your energy.
- Volunteer. You’ll feel better by helping others.
- Stay in touch with family, friends, and neighbors in person, online, or by phone.
- Consider adopting a pet. Animals can be a source of comfort and may also lower stress and blood pressure.