Having people in your life and fostering connections is an important part of a happy existence. Being socially engaged with other humans makes life not only bearable, but enjoyable. We are not solitary creatures, we are pack animals and cannot survive or thrive alone.
Loneliness and isolation can make mental health issues worse, and can even cause them. Without someone to talk to or connect with, we have too much time to think, think the worst and fill in the gaps with made-up stories and negative self talk. It can become a spiral of negative thinking, and spending too much time alone AND on social media can exacerbate negative feelings and emotions. Seeing other people happy or successful, when you don't feel like you are, can be triggering. Seeing images of beauty and perfection can make you feel bad about yourself. Seeing how productive other people are when you can only just manage to get out of bed and brush your teeth can be over-whelming. This is why taking a break from social media and getting out there into the real world can be so healing.
The pandemic has changed the way we live our lives. It has created a surge of loneliness across the globe, preventing people from getting together, and changing the way we interact. You may not have seen certain friends for months or years, and the dynamic of these relationships may have changed. Some people now feel anxious when they go out, because they have become so used to staying at home. On top of this, many people who had to work from home still are. Others changed jobs, and the pandemic has made it possible for anyone in a previously office-based role to work for any company regardless of locality, but for those who don't work in the same city as their employer, heading back to the office is not even an option. So the isolation continues.
This lack of human interaction is not good for the soul. Those who work from home are (in most cases) paid to do a job from a computer, which can ultimately become monotonous, regardless of sector, and without normal interactions with colleagues, it can seem like all of the bad, with none of the good. Only speaking to people over teams/meet/zoom when you need something for a work related purpose takes away the personal interactions (or 'water-cooler moments', as they have been called) and the 'getting to know each other' bit. Office banter has gone, and when it's you, the four walls, your screen and your thoughts, cabin fever can set in. People are quitting their jobs across the globe and it could be, in part, due to the fact that the human interaction and office environment made the monotony of a mundane and boring job bearable, because the laughs with the people in the office made it so. But once all that is gone, and it's just the raw job in all its glory, people might realise that actually, this isn't the career they wanted.
If any of this resonates and you are missing human interaction or feeling lonely, then fret not. There are many things you can do to combat this. If you have family and friends, reach out to them and make plans. If you are looking to meet new people, there are lots of things going on in Plymouth that you might not know about. Check out our calendar on the 'What's on' page, as well as the notice board. There are other CIC's that have events running where you could meet new people, such as Arts Crafts and Giggles and Plymouth red tent, part of Snapdragons Plymouth CIC. Or take up a new hobby or class and take yourself outside your comfort zone. There are also apps like Bumble or Meetup, where you can meet people with similar interests to you.