Loneliness is something we can all relate to. As we move into retirement, it’s a topic that often comes into sharper focus.
Friends and family may move, go in different directions, and sometimes pass away before us. It can be a confronting thing to think about, but being on our own doesn’t have to mean feeling alone. Social isolation is very different from choosing to do things solo, and can lead to health problems like cognitive decline, heart disease, and depression.
There are a number of ways to constructively and proactively deal with loneliness. First things first, make your health an important priority. Loneliness can often lead people to being less health conscious
so ensure you remain in regular contact with your GP and other health care professionals, so you stay fit in mind, body and soul.
Where being active is a possibility, work on your fitness. Whether you love walking or would like to learn something new like bowls or yoga, investing time in your physical health will leave you feeling
stronger, more positive about yourself, and in a better headspace thanks to the wonderful endorphins released during and after your fitness session.
In the same way that exercise helps our body produce feel good hormones, partaking in acts of kindness can also be incredibly enriching and offer genuine forms of interaction that have a lasting
impression. Look into volunteering or charity work in your local neighbourhood.
You will more than likely meet likeminded people who in turn extend invites to join clubs or events.
Ultimately, loneliness is a deeply personal experience, but it’s important to know you are not alone. Organisations like Age Concern NZ, Agewell, Carers New Zealand and Citizens Advice Bureau are there to support you along with your loved ones and residential community.
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