The crushing feeling of loneliness can be a silent killer. The feeling can sneak up on you even when you’re surrounded by people.
And it has detrimental effects on both your physical and mental health. In fact, research suggests that it takes more lives than obesity.
In fact, a recent 60 & Me survey found that 75% of 60 & Me readers feel lonely.
But, of course, we’re here to help – not add to the depressing stats. If you sometimes feel a part of this statistic, keep reading to discover 4 tips for overcoming loneliness as an older adult.
We’ve all experienced loneliness at one point in our lives. It’s a feeling that many people experience, but too often don’t want to admit.
Especially now, as most parts of the world are facing new Covid outbreaks – we are all feeling some degree of loneliness and social isolation.
The first and most crucial step is to acknowledge your feelings and give yourself the space to experience them without judgment or avoidance. Just by reading this article, you’re already setting yourself up for success.
Many retirees miss the camaraderie and social interaction of working life. But there’s a way to not let these feelings get to you.
Try to shift your focus – instead of thinking about all the things you’re missing out on, start looking at all the possibilities ahead of you and the things that you’re currently grateful for. There are so many new adventures to explore, including the ones already in your life (tiny ones count, too).
Try to get involved in what interests you. And rather than mindlessly apply to every activity out there, find clarity first. It’s important to understand the interests that truly make up who you are, before investing any time or energy on activities that aren’t a great fit.
Once you do find your unique interests and passions, it’s time to put yourself out there and engage with the world to find like-minded people.
You may be surprised at how quickly loneliness fades away when you focus on enjoying your adventures and interests that tap into the authentic you.
P.S. Here’s a list of 101 things to do in retirement to inspire you on your search for new activities. It’s less about checking off items on the list and more about following the ideas that naturally spark an interest in you and seeing where that light leads you.
Make an effort to reach out, both to people you already know and to complete strangers.
Maintaining long-distance relationships can be difficult, but today we’ve got technology on our side. It makes it easier than ever before – just connect virtually through social media or video chat rooms even if they’re miles away.
And more importantly, reach out in your community. Actively look for opportunities to chat with strangers. It might sound weird at first but if you listen to your gut and talk to the people that, again, spark a natural interest in you, it may be the beginning of wonderful friendships.
Volunteering is a great way to get out of your house, enjoy yourself for a few hours, and meet like-minded people.
Building connections with people who share your passion and enthusiasm for a cause is one of the best ways to overcome loneliness. Just be sure you find the right volunteer gig with a cause you believe in and a role that energizes you.
And it just feels good to feel needed. Not only do you get a sense of accomplishment by helping others in need, but it can also provide a much-needed sense of fulfillment and purpose.
Think about it, 20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than the ones you did.
So explore, dream, and discover by stepping out of your comfort zone.
If you follow your heart and the things that truly spark joy, loneliness might just become a distant memory.
If you’re interested in rewiring your golden years to have more purpose and passion, Cyn helps older adults find clarity and reach their biggest retirement goals. Book a Free 1-On-1 Breakthrough Session with Cyn to see if you’re a good fit for joining her Rewire Your Retirement program.
What do you find helps to combat loneliness and isolation, and what doesn’t work? How often do you make an effort to reach out to others? Would you say that there is a difference in the kind of loneliness felt by retirees and the younger generation?