Loneliness sucks. In fact, it’s even deadly. Studies have shown that social isolation kills more people than obesity, and it’s just as stigmatized. Even the happiest people experience loneliness at times, but for some people, it’s their complete existence. Whether it’s a child, an adult, or a senior citizen… or, even yourself, a lack of companionship can have serious effects on one’s mental and physical health.
Cheering up someone who’s lonely is a fairly simple way to have a dramatic impact on their life. Awareness of other people and the sensitivity to notice their loneliness should be something we always do – so let Cheer Up the Lonely Day, which falls on July 11th, help get you started.
Here are 5 simple things you can do to cheer up someone who’s lonely:
1- Pay a visit
Sometimes a quick pop-in is the perfect way to cheer someone up. Keep the visit and convo lively and upbeat – this is no time for you, negative Nancy. Make it even better by bringing food or a gift, and a dog if have one. Dogs seem to make everything better.
2- Invite out for coffee
Get the person out of their house, out of their usual routine, around other people. Make it even better by being a good listener…. and by picking up the tab.
3- Give a call
You can’t always check-in on someone in person, so a call is the next best thing. This is also an easy way to regularly check in on someone who you know is lonely. Set aside a half hour every week or month just to say hello, see what’s happenin’ and ultimately, let them know you care and haven’t forgotten about them. Make it even better by actually having something to say… so if you haven’t spoken on the phone in a while (because you’re a texter) give yourself a chance to warm up.
4- Volunteer to work with and visit senior citizens
A heartbreaking number of people in their golden years are without family or friends. I don’t need to sell you on why this is so sad, so if you’re looking for a volunteer opportunity, consider doing something with seniors. Make it even better by keeping butterscotch candies on you – you’ll be a hit.
5- Send a card or gift
While obviously actually communicating with the person is best, sometime’s someone just wants to know they’re thought of. Send a card with a handwritten note and possibly a small gift that you know they’ll appreciate. Make it even better by having the gift totally rule.