Don’t despair if you’re feeling lonely, sometimes we all need someone to talk to
The 1st of July saw the start of a new support service offered by established local charity, HELP Vega Baja. The charity launched their new Connection Team – trained volunteers available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to listen when you need someone to talk to. The team will offer advice and guidance where needed and continue to support you if you feel this will help.
With many years’ experience in this type of role, the volunteers have been busy not only preparing rotas etc but also writing articles about some of the situations where speaking to someone can often help. This week, the focus is on LONELINESS. It is well documented that loneliness is a real problem in society and for many different reasons and certainly not only for those people living alone.
As social beings, most of us feel the need for social contact and relationships. However, loneliness is not the same as being alone. You might choose to be alone and live happily without much contact with other people. Or you may have lots of social contact or be in a relationship or part of a family and still feel lonely.
Loneliness is not feeling part of the world. You might be surrounded by lots of people but… you are still lonely. Loneliness can have a significant impact on your mental health and can contribute to mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression.
Loneliness has many different causes and affects people differently. There are many situations in life that might make you feel isolated or lonely, for example:
- losing a partner or someone close to you
- going through a relationship break-up
- being a single parent or a full-time carer – you may find it hard to maintain a social life
- retiring and lose the social contact you had at work or moving to a new area without family, friends or community networks
- are excluded from social activities – for example, because of mobility problems or a shortage of money
Making contact with people you know can be a useful first step in helping you feel less alone. If you have friends or family, phoning someone, or sending a text or email, can help make you feel more grounded and remind you that there are people in your life. Sometimes just going outside for a walk and seeing other people in the street, perhaps saying hello to someone you know, can make you feel a little better.
For people who do not work, or live away from friends and family, it can be difficult to meet new people. This can be a concern for people who have relocated to Spain from the UK. One way is through making links with people with shared experiences, values or interests. Think about something that interests you. This could be anything from walking or watching films to taking care of animals. If you join a social group to do with something that genuinely interests you, you may find that you meet people who share your interests and get to do something you enjoy. You can find information about local groups, clubs or classes in local newspapers or online.
If you enjoy a particular sport or hobby, continue participating in it or, if you’ve stopped doing it, consider taking it up again. Instead of doing it alone, look for groups of people who are doing it together. There’s no easier way to break the ice than by participating in something you’re passionate about. Volunteering is an excellent way of meeting new people, sharing the learning and training experiences and perhaps going for a coffee or meal at the end of the day to swap stories. Say yes when your mind defaults to no. Go where the people are.
The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll never go back. The best thing that can happen is that you’ll meet new people and form a new group of friends. Taking a risk can pay off with less loneliness in your life.
The HELP Vega Baja Connections Team are experienced volunteers who have the time to listen to your worries and concerns whether it is loneliness or anything else that is troubling you – any time of the day or night on 966 723 733. They also have the resources and information to guide you, including details of support groups, charities, voluntary organisations that you may find useful. The Connections Team has the knowledge you may be looking for and time to chat with you.
If you would like us to stay in touch for a while, just to chat, the Connections Team volunteers will be there for you and help you along the way. You can email us at any time at [email protected] for further information or call one of our volunteers if computers aren’t your strength! Call 966 723 733
Don’t be shy – getting in touch with the Connections Team is the first step…