Overcoming Loneliness – A personal journey

FI Yorkshire Skills & Development coach Charlotte takes us on her personal journey of how she overcame crippling loneliness when she moved location for work.

In a deeply personal blog she has decided to tell her story in the hope of helping others.

Overcoming Loneliness – A personal journey

FI Yorkshire Skills & Development coach Charlotte takes us on her personal journey of how she overcame crippling loneliness when she moved location for work.

In a deeply personal blog she has decided to tell her story in the hope of helping others.

In 2019 I moved to Yorkshire from London for work, leaving behind my friends and everything I knew. Although we stayed in touch, living away from friends & family was difficult, I would barely see them and as time went on I found we stopped being as close. I no longer felt like I could call them up just for a chat or tell them about the small details of my day. I found myself feeling very lonely and isolated.

The timing for my move to Yorkshire wasn’t great. Covid hit and we were mid-pandemic. Then numerous lockdowns happened! For the first time ever I found myself alone, truly alone. I worked remotely and hadn’t met any of my new colleagues’ face to face. I had no friends to get in touch with locally. I had nobody to text to ask if they were free and I stopped looking forward to weekends as I knew I would be staying at home alone.

My mental health took a beating. My anxiety levels were off the scale and I couldnt focus. I feel a large cause of this was not having anyone to talk to. Not just on bad days but on good days either. I felt I had no real purpose.

Thankfully I did have my family for support, although they were far away. They became concerned about my lack of friends and social life and suggested I find a club to join or a hobby as they could see I was extremely lonely.

As lockdown lifted, I decided I couldn’t go on the way I was. I needed to do something about how lonely and disconnected from the world I felt. I searched online and found an app I liked the look of called Meet Up.

At first, I was extremely nervous about reaching out. How could I turn around to complete strangers and ask, ‘Will you be my friend please?’  However, I knew I had to do something. So, I decided to go to a local event at a coffee shop – which advertised itself as a perfect event for new members.

I was extremely nervous about turning up, feeling like I may be judged. But there was no judgement at all. Instead, I was greeted by lots of friendly and welcoming smiling faces. They had saved me a seat and all introduced themselves. Within ten minutes, I was chatting with a few of the group members as if I had known them ages.

There are a number of social apps and groups that you can become a part of. The best thing about them is that everyone is there because they are in the same position as you.  People join because they have moved to a new area, have free time, work remotely or have gone through a breakup.

The social apps are nationwide and have a huge variety of people with different interests and backgrounds. Activities range from socialising, sports or walking to cultural activities. The group I joined is for my own age group and we do lots of activities, such as meals out, comedy nights, bowling etc. There’s a variety of things to do and you can just pick the events you fancy.

I have been to various events with the same group since I joined. I even hosted a New Years Eve party for them at my house. For me this was a noticeable turning point, a few months earlier if you had said I would be hosting a party I would have laughed, I didn’t know anyone in the area, let alone have a group of friends.  My family have noticed the improvement in my confidence, my happiness and of course my social life. I can now look forward to the weekends. For the first time since moving to Yorkshire 3 years ago, I was receiving phone calls and texts asking if I’m free!

I am happy and thankful to be able to say that I no longer feel lonely and have made some good, lifelong friendships.

Unfortunately, I know now that my situation is surprisingly common. If you ever find yourself in a similar position please don’t feel you are alone. My advice would be to be brave and join a social club because I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done and has changed my life!

 

If you can relate to any of the issues in this article you may find the below links useful:

Useful contacts to combat loneliness

Find your local sports group

Meet Up

Alternatively, to access more exclusive tips from First Intuition, visit FI Hub.

 

 

Further Reading

Practising Mindfulness

You are part of something BIG!

Turning stress into a positive force

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