December and January is a particularly crazy time of year.
Christmas, New Year, summer (and school) holidays. It’s a lot.
It also gives you a lot of time to spend with the people closest/most important to you. Kids, partners, parents, friends. Whoever.
But if you don’t have these people, for whatever reason, it can be an extra trying time.
In 2016, eight out of ten Australians said loneliness is increasing in our society according to a survey by Lifeline.
In November, the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and Swinburne University of Technology released findings from a survey of more than 1,600 Australians that confirms that loneliness is strongly connected to poorer quality of life, lower psychological wellbeing, higher social discomfort and poorer quality social networks.
So, with loneliness a clear danger in society (and exacerbated by this time of year), here are three simple ways you can check in on the people around you.
1. Check in on them.
Go for a visit. Knock on their door. Send them a message.
A simple check in to see what someone’s plans are for the holiday period and listening to what they say can make a world of difference.
Esha Oberoi, founder and CEO of aged and disability care provider Afea Care Services told Mamamia loneliness is one of those things you can’t necessarily capture by looking at someone, which is why it is important to ask how they are going.
“I find that we can be so conscious of asking these things because it can be uncomfortable and we aren’t always sure how to respond if someone does start to disclose something,” she said.
“Coming from a place of kindness tends to dissolve that awkwardness and it can make a world of difference to just ask and listen. Most of the time, we don’t need to do much than just listen.”