Skip links

 In News

The CDC defines social isolation as the lack of relationships with others. It is the feeling of having little to no social support or contact. The CDC defines loneliness as a feeling of being alone or disconnected from others. It occurs when you feel like you don’t belong or if you feel that you don’t have meaningful relationships with others. These feelings can affect people at any stage of life, but seniors are especially vulnerable as they are more likely to retire, live alone, and be physically distant from friends and loved ones. Research has shown that social isolation can increase one’s risk of dementia, heart disease and stroke.

The holiday season often sees an uptick in these feelings because there is a lot of socializing which in turn may put a spotlight on our own feelings of loneliness. While it’s not a fix, it’s important to take extra care of yourself when feeling this way during the holiday season. It’s also good to know that you are not the only one who is feeling this way. Here are ideas to get you engaged!

Explore activities and hobbies.

Finding a new activity that is shared with others can be a great way to connect with people. Think about an activity that you may have a genuine interest in and sign up for a class! Classes that teach painting, drawing, writing, exercise or teach a new skill are all great options- just go with an open mind!

Solo hobbies like reading, meditation, or watching a good movie can also help you feel calmer and more relaxed while you explore the connection you have with yourself.

Also, look for volunteer opportunities in your community as it is a rewarding way to connect with people!

Learn how to use technology to stay connected with family and friends.

If you are less physically mobile, technology can be a great way to stay connected with family and friends. Texting, video calls, and social media are all ways you can connect with people you care about. After ‘liking’ someone’s photo on social media, send a message or call them. Reaching out to people strengthens bonds and in turn, makes us feel less lonely.

Examine the support that you have.

Maintaining social relationships takes time and effort! Although it may be hard to ask for help, it’s perfectly ok to tell friends and loved ones when you are feeling especially lonely. By reaching out and sharing, you may be acting as a source of support for them as well.

Finally, because there is such a strong connection between social isolation and its negative impact on health, it is very important to tell your health care provider when you feel an uptick in loneliness. This will help them find ways to help you!