In the pandemic, we spent more time texting our loved ones than hugging them. Human connection became digitised and reliant on technology. Video calling replaced face-to-face interactions, and texting was the basis of conversation. The pandemic made it near impossible to find human connections because of social distancing and isolation regulations. Technology allowed us to communicate with one another – but did it really allow us to connect?
In November 2020, the Mental Health Foundation researched the state of the UK’s mental wellbeing. They found that a quarter of people reported feeling lonely in the last two weeks, particularly young adults. Almost one in ten said they felt hopeless and seeing their loved ones would help to alleviate some of their loneliness.
Human connection is essential for our mental wellness as a nation. We need to see people, have conversations, and connect with others. When we are isolated from others, we feel lonely and, in some cases, depressed.
Lockdown has finally lifted, and the UK is returning to normal life. Here are a few ways you can maintain meaningful connections with others or create new ones.
Join a group
You might be ready to make some new friends and step outside of your comfort zone. You could start a new hobby and join a class. For example, you could join a new gym class and connect with people while working out. It’s much easier to form relationships when you have a common interest and hobby.
Volunteering can help other people and your mental wellbeing. Sometimes it feels good to step outside your own life and help another person. You could volunteer at a homeless shelter or look into helping your local community. There are plenty of places to volunteer and form connections outside of your day-to-day life.
Introduce yourself to neighbors
In Hollywood movies and TV shows, characters always introduce themselves to their neighbors. Give your neighbour a chocolate gift and introduce yourself. You might find a friend for life or someone to water your plants when you’re away. A friendly neighbour is a good person to have in your life.
Reach out to an old friend
We all lose contact with friends from time to time. You might have grown apart or moved to a different city. It’s time to reach out to those old friends and see what they’re getting up to. They might have had a baby or started a new exciting career. You should probably avoid reconnecting with anyone you had a major blowout with, though. Some things are better left in the past.
Loneliness can lead to anxiety, depression, addiction and much more. Be proactive and make the first step towards finding a human connection in your life.