Blue Monday is a notoriously difficult day; however, this year is undoubtedly going to be harder than ever before, with over half (55%) of Brits currently feeling lonelier than they have at any other time in their life.
That’s according to new research from Buzz Bingo. The UK’s largest bingo operator surveyed 2,000 Brits and has found that over half (57%) have felt lonely during the coronavirus pandemic.
Seeing friends and family
The sobering research reveals that on average, Brits haven’t met friends in real life for four months or family in three-and-a-half months. In fact, almost one in five (19%) haven’t met a friend in person in the last 7-12 months, whilst 13% haven’t seen family in this time.
Millennials are feeling the effects more than any other generation, with a staggering 74% saying they’ve felt lonely during the last year compared to the 57% national average and 45% of baby boomers.
Meanwhile, when it comes to different parts of the UK Londoners are feeling the loneliest, with 71% saying they’ve felt alone during the coronavirus pandemic – 14% above the national average. 48% of dwellers in the capital say this is because they live alone, more than anywhere else in the UK. Those living in Plymouth have felt the least lonely (39%).
|Location||% of people feeling lonely during the pandemic (avg)||Last time they saw a friend (avg in days)||Last time they saw family (avg in days)|
|East of England||53%||128||116|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||48%||119||92|
*Answers varied from within the last week to over a year ago, these statistics are the average
But it’s not just ourselves we’re worried about. 45% of Brits feel anxious about elderly relatives and neighbours who can’t use technology to stay as well connected as other generations. Indeed, technology has played an incredibly important role throughout the pandemic, with 58% of Brits saying it’s helped them combat loneliness.
Somewhat encouragingly, lockdown has made Brits rethink the role the community plays in society. One in five (20%) say it’s made them realise how important their community is, with 14% saying their community has made them feel less lonely. 12% say they think they’d feel less lonely if they were part of a community.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Buzz Bingo has launched a scheme to try and help their vulnerable and elderly customers feel less lonely. Buzz Buddies sees general managers regularly call the community to check how they are and make sure they’re feeling okay. For many, visiting their local bingo club is their main way of socialising and staying connected which means that club closures has had a huge impact on customers’ mental health – and everyone at Buzz Bingo wants to ensure everyone is okay.
Dr Rob Hicks’ advice on combatting loneliness
1. Keep a routine
Start your day at around the same time as usual, and set aside time each day for an activity, relaxation, and connecting with people. If you play cards, Scrabble, or bingo with your friends each week, for example, keep this in the diary and play on a video call instead.
2. Move more
Try standing when using a computer, moving about during phone-calls and work meetings and doing some exercise each day – whatever you enjoy – outdoors or online. Spend some time outside if you can to get some fresh air. It can do wonders in terms of clearing your head and helping you get time away from the stresses of the day.
- Connect with others
Stay in touch with family and friends through video calls and meetings, emails, phone calls, texts, and letters. Maybe join an online choir or quiz team.
- 4. Fill empty time
Find ways to spend your time, to relax, and be creative. Do ‘get around to’ tasks like admin and cleaning, it will make you feel a sense of accomplishment once done. It’s also a chance to try new things, for example crafts, painting, learning new skills that will help keep you busy.
5. Practise self-compassion
Each day reflect on what has gone well for you – perhaps write this down each night before bed. Try meditation or breathing exercises to relax – or whatever works for you.