If you or someone you know struggles with loneliness, it can be overcome. It does require a conscious effort on your part to make a change. Making a change can make you happier, healthier and enable you to impact others around you in a positive way.
Here are some strategies to help prevent and address loneliness:
• Seek out like-minded people. Put yourself in social situations where you are likely to interact with people who share your values and interests.
• Interact with family/friends. Make it a point to have meaningful conversations with loved ones/friends as often as possible. Avoid prioritizing activities in life at the cost of real social connections.
• Consider a social media cleanse. If your digital life has overtaken face-to-face interactions, consider taking a break from social media while taking proactive steps to meet people in person. You can have hundreds of connections on Facebook or LinkedIn and still be lonely.
• Exercise with others. Participating in fitness classes, walking groups or team sports will create opportunities to meet people while improving your physical fitness.
• Be aware of how you communicate with others. Soften your tendency to criticize and shame people. Avoid stonewalling and defensive behaviors.
• Consider professional help. If the symptoms of loneliness are severe or are interfering with daily activities, don’t be afraid to ask for professional help.
Support resources to help cope with loneliness are available for the AFMC workforce and their families through the Employee Assistance Program and Military OneSource.
Civilian employees and their family members may contact the Employee Assistance Program for free, confidential counseling services at 800-222-0364 or visit the EAP website at FOH4You.com.
Active-duty personnel and their family members can contact Military OneSource by calling 800-342-9647 or visiting militaryonesource.mil.
For educational materials on how to deal with loneliness, visit AFMCwellness.com, or contact your local Civilian Health Promotion Services team at 904-9359.