Loneliness Banner

Juice Bitesize!

Your monthly digest of health and wellbeing information that matters to you!

December: Loneliness

Feelings of loneliness can be short-lived and sporadic or a longer-term emotion. Whilst loneliness isn’t a mental wellbeing concern in itself, it is important to address as it can have a negative impact on our mental health. The mental wellbeing charity Mind compares feelings of loneliness to feelings of hunger. Just as your body uses hunger to tell your body you need food, loneliness is a way of your body telling you that you need more social contact.

As we approach the Winter season, we are looking at the ways we can connect with our friends, family and the community to help us to stay happy and mentally well.

The webinar below from Health Assured outlines some of the steps you can take if you are experiencing loneliness this winter.

Remeber: Univeristy of Sheffield staff and their immediate families have access to a free, independent and confidential helpline and counselling service, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year  If you are feeling lonely, worried or would just like to hear a freindly voice, call 0800 028 1947.

Take Notice

Identifying the reason you are experiencing feelings of loneliness is the first step to finding a way of feeling better. There are generally two reasons why people experience loneliness:

  •  They don’t see or talk to people often enough
  •  Even though they are often surrounded by people, they don’t feel understood or cared for

One of the simplest things we can do to ease feelings of loneliness is to meet more, or different people. The sections below highlight some of the networks, events and activities available at The University of Sheffield and the wider community that you could get involved in to meet new people.

Give

A great way to meet new people is to volunteer. By offering your time at local community activities or charity events, you will have the chance to meet a variety of new people across many generations, who may have similar interests to yourself, or you may learn about something new!

Getting out of the house and spending time helping others can have an incredibly positive effect on mental wellbeing, promoting feelings of vitality, happiness and self-worth.

Volunteer

To find out about volunteering opportunities in the wider community, visit the Sheffield Volunteer Centre website.

Connect

Trying to meet new people or start new conversations can sometimes be daunting. If you feel overwhelmed at the thought of attending an event with lots of new people, why not start slow and go somewhere like the cinema, a sports match or a café. Here, you can be surrounded by people but not be expected to talk to them. You could also attend a group class or activity, where everyone will be focused on the activity, but you could choose to chat to someone if you felt comfortable. This article on the Juice Health Hub contains tips and suggestions for meeting new people.

At work, joining a staff network is a great way to meet new people who share similar interests and values to yourself. Staff networks are inclusive groups run by staff for staff, bringing together people from all faculties, departments and services that identify with the group. Staff networks fulfil various functions including providing opportunities for social interaction, peer support and personal development.

Click the links to the Staff Networks below to find out more about what they do, their upcoming events and to sign yourself up.

BAME (Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic) Staff Network

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) Staff Network

Staff & Disability Network

Women@TUOS - Women's Network

Parents@Tuos - Parents' Network

Keep Learning

Take a new class, learn a new skill or follow a new sport – not only does this provide an opportunity to meet new people, but adult learning has been positively linked with overall measures of wellbeing, as well as our ability to feel good and function well.

Taking advantage of the events and activities publicised through the Staff Announce system can be a great way to connect – you can network with those who share similar interest to you, or you may find a new interest! With a wide range of talks, conferences, exhibitions and training opportunities available to staff at the University, you are sure to find something of interest to you.

Click here to opt in to Staff Announce.

Lastly, keeping a full diary can be a great way to ease feelings of loneliness. Try to plan the week ahead, adding things to your diary to look forward to – this could be a trip to the cinema, enjoying some nice food at a local café or even a short trip or holiday. By reflecting on what activities and interactions make us feel satisfied and well, we can learn to prioritise the things and see the people that make us feel happy.

Be Active

Taking part in group activities has huge social benefits; bringing people together in a community regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or religion provides opportunity for social connections and positive feelings of togetherness.

A recent research study carried out at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Landscape Architecture is studying the link between outdoor green space and well-being, examining the relationship between natural urban spaces and positive mental well-being. Why not join the staff-led walking group for a scenic walk through one of Sheffield’s many beautiful parks and enjoy lunchtime chat with colleagues?

Through the Juice online portal, staff can book onto a wide variety of other fun activities and social events in December and ongoing. 

Throughout December specifically, Juice will be hosting 12 new activities as part of our ‘12 Days of Christmas’ campaign – you could invite a colleague to join you in our Fun Crafts space at lunchtime, or head along to the Juice Choir to sing some Carols and get into the festive spirit.

To keep up to date with all our sessions and events this December, why not follow us on Twitter - @juicesheffield.