“Connection is why we’re here: it is what gives meaning and purpose to our lives,” said Brené Brown. So when the world was sent into a series of lockdowns due to the pandemic, a whole new epidemic set in: loneliness. And the demographic that reported the sharpest rise in loneliness? Generation X women, according to a survey of more than 1,000 adults conducted by the Roots of Loneliness Project, a research organisation.
So, how can a life, on the one hand feel so crowded, yet on the other feel lonely? It seems for women, aged 41 to 57 years old, the demands of work and family leaves little time for nurturing friendships. So, instead we turn to social media to seek connections, only to find that going online surfaces feelings of inadequacy and loneliness.
And that’s because social media can give us the sense that we’re with lots of other people, but because we’re not actively experiencing their lives with them, it can make us feel that isolation in a big group (even if that group is only virtual and perceived).
Use Technology Wisely
Because of this, it’s important to use technology wisely. Instead of spending time on Instagram comparing our lives to others, we should focus on building intimacy and deeper social connections by using these platforms to encourage, listen and have agenda-less chats. It’s also worth remembering that the quality is more important than the quantity in your tribe. Pick up the phone – a novel idea, we know – and speak to a friend. Just ask them how they’re doing. Your call might be exactly what they need at that particular moment too.
Be Kind To Yourself
Above all, be kind to yourself. You’re not alone, just feeling lonely. This may mean you’re not ultra-productive or currently living your best life, but that’s okay too. Stop comparing and instead, start caring for others. Research shows that one can feel a sense of purpose when we help others, as it reminds us that our actions can matter. Give blood, volunteer, donate – small gestures can go a long way to combat loneliness, build connections, and give significance to your current life.
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