Shake those blues

Sometimes building a stronger support network is all that’s needed

| 16 Jan 2023 | 10:54

Friends, family and health care professionals can help you bounce back after having a bad day. People may overlook loneliness, brushing it aside as something unworthy of real scientific exploration and consistent personal attention. But this is a natural response to isolation, and feeling like a social connection has been lost can have very real impacts. They say it takes a village to raise a child. The same may also be said when trying to shake the blues. Surround yourself with helpful individuals who can provide the safety net we all sometimes need when life takes a difficult turn.

Why Connections Matter

Experts have consistently proven that those who are lonely deal with more mental health and physical problems than others with stronger connections. So, creating and maintaining positive relationships at home and at work can have a huge impact on our general well being. We’re also encouraged to reach out to professionals, as needed. People without these important bonds may become more reclusive, turning inward to deal with their problems. Emotional and physical wellness may suffer if they feel unable to cope.

The Science of Loneliness

Depression sufferers have shown improvement with their symptoms once they started having more positive interactions with the world around them. At the same time, those who experience loneliness increase their risk of early death by a whopping 50%, according to the American Heart Association. Being isolated was also shown to increase coronary artery disease and stroke risks by as much as 32%. Lonely people are often less active, and studies confirm that those who eat alone tend to have a less healthy diet.

Getting Involved Again

If you’ve found yourself isolated, as so many have after emerging from the quarantine era, there are ways to slowly reconnect with friends, extended family and your community. Start by joining a local club or church. Call up somebody you haven’t seen in a while and arrange a fun activity. Rebook that long-delayed appointment with your mental health professional. Enroll in a fun class at the local community college, or sign up for a gym membership. Join a professional organization, where you’ll find people who share your work goals. Interacting with business owners or workers in your area can help smooth the way for a return to other social situations.