Posted: December 2, 2020

Across our communities, many of us will experience the feeling of loneliness and this often becomes magnified during the winter. For many this is a short-term feeling and doesn’t overly affect our mental health, however with the complexity of the pandemic for some people these feelings have become long-term. This can having an impact if people have existing mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety or increased stress, making loneliness difficult to manage.

As those of us in Leicestershire exited the second lock-down and have gone straight into Tier 3 restrictions, this means we need to continue to adapt how we keep connected with people and explore new ways to stay in touch with our family and friends. Keeping the strong social networks does assist in reducing poor mental health.

There are a number of local Befriending schemes across the Borough with volunteers able to give a weekly call to check in with a friendly chat. Or if you are someone who would like to sign up as a volunteer for these schemes, please contact Louise Lock: louise@nxt-gen.org.uk for more information. 

Age UK Leicestershire & Rutland have recently launched their Digital Champions Scheme which assists people to access technical support to keep in touch with families and shop online. More information here:  https://www.nextgenhinckley.org/news/age-uk-digital-champions-scheme

Links with advice on loneliness for all ages within our community:

Facing winter during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Loneliness Advice for Young People

Listen to combat loneliness:

The sound of another voice can help soothe and relax. Most of us have access to a radio or TV which can offer a connection to the outside world, but there are other resources to explore. There are a large number of podcasts and audiobooks which can be fascinating and be helpful distraction!

Audiobooks can take you back to a time when people read books to you, perhaps a daily bedtime story, and you may be able tap into the comfort and relaxation that this can bring. Are there books you’ve been meaning to read for years and never quite got around to like Moby Dick, Wuthering Heights or Frankenstein? Or maybe you’d like to hear books that you go back to again and again, read out loud to you.

During this difficult period of time, especially for someone who is the only person in their house, a daily dose of being read to could really help.

Free Resources:

Digital Library Services for Leicestershire – Register online to access eBooks and Audiobooks.

Librivox  - Free public domain books and read by volunteers across the world.

BBC Podcasts - create or use your BBC account to listen to a wide range of podcasts and re-listen to shows.

Podbean - a free podcast app with podcasts from all genres.

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