4 Top Tips to Tackle Loneliness
Jun 19, 2021
Loneliness can kill. In fact it kills just as often, if not more than, smoking and obesity, according to the world-renowned Centre for Disease Control. It’s not just feeling down, it can amplify every other negative moment or event tenfold – but the chances are we don’t need to tell you this.
If you’ve felt the sting of any one of the five kinds of loneliness identified by The Marmalade Trust, then none of this will be surprising to you. If you’re not sure, the five kinds are:
- Emotional loneliness: When you’re missing someone in particular; someone you felt close to like a partner, family member or friend, is no longer around.
- Social loneliness: When you feel as though you have no wider support group, network, friendship group or neighbours to turn to.
- Transient loneliness: When a sensation of loneliness wavers, strong at times and barely present at others.
- Situational loneliness: When you’re alone in a specific time you feel as though you oughtn't to be, like a weekend, bank holiday or religious event.
- Chronic loneliness: When you just feel alone all or most of the time.
Whether it be the situational loneliness of an empty weekend or a transient loneliness that comes and goes, there’s no denying that it hurts. Small business owners are especially prone to chronic and social loneliness: in a study by Epson, nearly half of one thousand freelancers described their work as ‘lonely’ and almost as many called it ‘isolating’.
If you identify with this sense of loneliness, don’t despair! There are so many ways to deal with it, both in your personal life and in your life as a small business owner.
- Reach out. To friends, family, fellow business owners. Other business owners are great at offering support because they know how it feels to be in your shoes, where your family or friends may not. If you’re a female business owner, joining a group like ours at The Inspire Network, which offers meetings that are confidential where you can seek support, can be a great way to connect and reach out to peers. People aren’t mind-readers, so they won’t know you feel rubbish if you don’t tell them. It doesn’t have to be a grand declaration, just as much or as little as you’re comfortable with. Ask to catch up, collaborate on a project, or attend an event together. You lose nothing from trying.
- Get networking. There are all different kinds of networking, some more formal than others. We at The Inspire Network can help you with this if you’re looking connect with other women from across the country! But if we’re not quite your cup of tea, there are all kinds of other opportunities out there to suit you and your particular needs. Not only will networking put you in contact with people you have things in common with, it can also help you grow your business as you learn from those around you, discover new markets and people with the skills to help you succeed.
- Volunteer. If you have as little as a single hour to spare a week, a cause you believe in can benefit from it – as can you! Love animals? Maybe there’s a rescue shelter near you. Experienced in a particular discipline? Maybe there’s a mentoring scheme you can help with. Volunteering will put you in contact with like-minded folks while providing that feel-good factor, (the colloquially-known ‘helper’s high’) as well as supporting your community... which, of course, can help get the name of you and your business out in the area too.
- Ask for favours. British mental health charity Mind identifies a link between loneliness and stress, and a simple way to reduce stress is to reduce the number of things you’re stressed about. If an aspect of your business is causing you issues, make use of your networks and groups to see if there’s anyone that can help you with it. It’s good to offer something in exchange, or even to pay it forward by helping others when you can.
These are just a few of the things you can try out if you’re feeling low, there are dozens more we haven’t even touched on (joining a class, taking up a new hobby, going to the gym – loads!). If you’re a female business owner who has got herself out of a lonesome rut, or if you find yourself stuck in one at present, we would love to help!
Have a look through our website at The Inspire Network to find out how we help female business owners connect, learn and grow together, facilitating business success (whatever that means for you), and easing isolation by bringing women together from the comfort of their own homes.