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When the pandemic first began, many experts feared that even people who managed to avoid the virus would suffer from unprecedented levels of loneliness. What would happen when millions of people were told to stay at home and distance themselves from friends and loved ones? Two years of research later, experts have found that loneliness levels were already dire enough to pose a threat to mental and physical health.
Across the U.S. and European populations, the differences in loneliness before and after the Pandemic are small.
Researchers found about a 5% increase in loneliness in the period immediately following the outbreak, but these differences do not mean anything clinically at all because the increases were so small.
Reducing loneliness is not just increasing the number of people a person sees, but making more fulfilling social connections.
Seek out relationships with others who are really "your people".
Get busy to distract yourself and enrich your life-like getting out in nature, taking up a creative hobby, or meditating.
Nurture existing relationships, including with people you might overlook. For example, people become less lonely after doing small acts of kindness for their neighbour.
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