Are you feeling lonely at the moment? That was just one of the questions we set out to answer when we surveyed over 2,000 WH readers, followers and listeners this autumn. The findings were stark: 79% of you told us you feel lonelier now than you did before the pandemic - a number that rises to 87% among single people. For a community formed around a shared passion for health, this is troubling news. Loneliness is about as destructive a force for mental and physical health as you can get. So, rather than spend our weekly slot chatting to you about all the ways loneliness can harm you, we want to talk you through something we hope can help - regardless of your age, relationship status or living set up. It’s our new campaign, The Loneliness Remedy, and it hinges on a simple concept: that just as you plan your at-home workouts and take time out for self-care, it’s essential to work on your social nutrition (lessening the burden of loneliness via cultivating connections and caring for others) too. And much like you aim to eat at least five fruit and vegetables a day - per NHS advice - we’re encouraging all of you listening to seek out five socially nutritious interactions every day, too. So, how can you tell if you are lonely? And how, practically, can you go about getting your other five-a-day alongside all the very many things on your to-do list? Joining host Roisín Dervish O'Kane to discuss this and more is Jeffrey Hall, professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas and Dr Sophie Mort, a clinical psychologist who made the move from working in the NHS to running remote online therapy appointments with clients worldwide.
Follow Dr Sophie Mort on Instagram: @_drsoph
Follow Roisin Dervish-O'Kane on Instagram: @roisin.dervishokane
Follow Women's Health on Instagram: @womenshealthuk
Why loneliness has affected so many during the pandemic
The difference between interactions on social media and in real life
How to tell if you are lonely
Why Women's Health's The Loneliness Remedy may help
How to deal with isolation if you're feeling alone
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Please read! If loneliness is seriously adversely affecting your mental health please seek support from your GP, a therapist or other professional. Charities such as Mind and Rethink can provide more information.
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