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Challenging Loneliness and Isolation – No One Should Have No One – Blog no. 2

Happy February!  A month closer to a semblance of normality.  I don’t think anyone was sad to see the end of 2020 when our world turned literally upside down.   We all had to learn to adjust and try to deal with the psychological impact of our “new normal” in our own individual ways. 

 Unfortunately, many more people have found themselves feeling lonely or isolated being unable to see, or more importantly to touch our nearest and dearest with a loving hug.  This is a basic human need. 

Human beings are inherently social animals and we’ve have all had to learn how to physically distance to keep ourselves and others safe.   Thankfully for us,  technology means we’re still able to communicate through  ‘phones, video calls, e-mails, letters and contact can still take place in the absence of close physical contact.  It’s the next best thing.

The key factor for most people is learning to keep stress at a minimum.  We can build our resilience by keeping optimistic, think of what we do have rather than what we don’t have, bond with those close to us and allow ourselves to ask for help when we need it,  keep informed with what’s happening but don’t obsess or ruminate over it, distract ourselves with hobbies and interests and find ways to laugh and have fun by keeping connected with others.

It’s okay to experience some anxiety and sadness.  That’s being human.   Be kind to yourself and show yourself self-compassion.   Practice self-care when it comes to eating, sleeping, exercising and working on maintaining a balanced perspective.  Live your values.  

MKHH has been paying heed by continuing as groups and connections as it can.  Blether & Brew, the Lunchtime Club, Tai Chi, IT and the Beareavement Group all found a way to reconnect with one another through online video connection.  Free laptops and tablets were sourced and provided to those without.  Our volunteers stepped up to the mark to support other people through providing regular phonecalls.

The Befriending Project has been contacting as many organisations as possible from sheltered housing complexes, to health and social care services.  Some of our usual referral sources are unavailable to us right now so we’ve had to don our creative hats and think of new ways to contact people. Our lovely volunteers have been helping us spread the word too. 

In December, we trained a total of 5 Befriending volunteers from who we received extremely positive and helpful feedback. We received referrals for 5 potential beneficiaries.  All were followed up on and we are very excited to announce our first Befriending match who “met” over the telephone mid- January!   We’re currently in the process of training another 6 potential Befriending volunteers.  We completed training ourselves in Covid 19: Psychological First Aid, Safeguarding and Bereavement in Befriending. We held an online Q&A session about the Project for all our colleagues and contacts and have our brand new Befriending Project all ready for distribution.

Keep Safe and Keep Connected!

Written by: Liz Highet