Lockdown restrictions have been tough for the best of us. While social distancing protects our physical health and slows the spread, the inability to see friends and loved ones may have hindered our mental health. One-third of adults in the UK say that they are alone and have no one to turn to, according to a November 2020 report from the Red Cross. Needless to say, finding small ways to cope and combat this growing problem is a must.
Nothing can replace human interaction. However, new research from the University of California suggests that engaging in personal, daily rituals could ease loneliness. The study found that these activities create a sense of meaning in our everyday lives. That, in turn, may mean people feel less lonely and could help them cope with isolation.
"We found that something as simple as preparing tea in a certain way, as long as it's interpreted as a ritual, can make the experience more meaningful. This makes people feel less lonely,” said Thomas Kramer, from UC Riverside's School of Business.
If you’re looking for ways to boost your mental well-being, engaging in daily rituals could be the answer. Fortunately enough, there are plenty of small and simple ways in which you can make everyday tasks more meaningful. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the things you could do try for yourself in the comfort of your own home:
1. Going for a Walk
Heading out for a walk is a quick way to boost your mental and physical well-being. To make this into a ritual, why not choose a certain time of day to engage in the activity. While many of us are now working from home, going for a walk ahead of the working day is a smart idea. Doing so will help you get into the right mindset for the tasks ahead.
Alternatively, you may want to finish the day with a quick walk around a nearby park. Often enough, people find it hard to mentally ‘switch off’ when they have finished working. That is especially true when you’re working from your living room sofa. Ensuring that you get outside after the day is done could make all the difference to how you feel.
It’s no secret that meditation has a load of health benefits. If you have never tried this activity before now, you may want to give it a whirl. Making a daily ritual out of meditation could give you the headspace you need to relax and unwind. If you’re hoping to get started, using an app could be the answer. Luckily, there’s a whole host of meditation apps out there that you can use for free (or for a small subscription). Give it a go.
3. Making a Cup of Tea
Ten percent of Brits drink tea at least six times a day, according to a report from The Grocer. If you fall into that category, this next ritual will be your ‘cup of tea’. Making yourself a hot beverage may seem like a mundane task. However, you can make this into a ritual by following the same process each time. For example, you may use a teapot to brew your drink, leave it to sit for a few minutes, and then remove the tea leaves or bag.
4. Doing Some Yoga
If you’re hoping to build both mental and physical strength, it’s well worth trying yoga. Engaging in this type of activity will give you the opportunity to become more mindful while also keeping your body fit and agile. Whether you’re new to this practice or have already started, you can make it a ritual by choosing a specific time of day to do it. For instance, you may find it useful to practice yoga as soon as you get up each morning.
5. Making a Special Meal
Do you love cooking? If you’re something a culinary whiz kid, why not try making a special meal every now and then. Taking the time to prepare something that is at once delicious and healthy could help lift your spirits. What’s more, the ritual of following a well-known process may make the experience more meaningful. Perhaps you want to cook a meal that your parents taught you to make. On the other hand, you may want to whip up something that you have previously made for a special person in your life.
6. Listening to Music Before Bed
How do you prepare for bed? Engaging in a pre-bedtime ritual could help you get a better night’s sleep and improve your mental well-being. While there are many options you could try, one that is sure to help you relax is listening to calming music each night. You can make a playlist of ‘bedtime songs’ on Spotify and tune in before you hit the hay. By following the same routine each night, it gives the experience a deeper meaning.
Resources and Support
If you or someone you know is battling loneliness, there is a wealth of help available. Here are some handy resources you can use to gain support and advice from professionals:
Living with loneliness is difficult. Creating a routine filled with daily rituals could help you feel less lonely. However, it doesn’t end there. Gaining support, help and company is a must if you are feeling alone. Reach out to a trusted person, contact an old friend or use the resources we have listed. You don’t have to suffer in silence.