Here’s a challenge: think about a time when you experienced a strong sense of belonging. Was the place most important, or the company? Were you outside in nature, or inside surrounded by people? Were you trying something new or doing a familiar activity?
Associated with a range of mental health problems, chronic loneliness (feeling lonely all the time) is fast becoming the biggest health concern, recognised as being as bad for one’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Analysis from the ONS data from the Campaign to End Loneliness finds that between December 2021 and February 2022, 3.3 million people living in Britain were ‘chronically lonely’ . The Mental Health Foundation chose the theme of loneliness for their Mental Health Awareness Week this year, highlighting that reducing chronic loneliness is a major step towards a mentally healthy society.
So, what can we do to be part of changing the current landscape of loneliness?
Well, the opposite of feelings of loneliness are feelings of connectedness. Developing new relationships, finding new hobbies and activities, and practising lifelong learning are all ways to connect with ourselves and others, find a sense of purpose within a community, and foster a sense of belonging.
This is exactly why Mirthy are hosting their second ‘Festival of Belonging’ in support of the The Marmalade Trust (the UK’s leading loneliness charity for all ages) and their Loneliness Awareness Week. Through a week of free online events, Mirthy aims to focus on belonging as an integral part of wellbeing, tackling the stigma by accepting that loneliness is something we all experience at different points in our lives.
From fitness sessions to art classes and inspirational talks to technology workshops, there is something for everyone. This will be an exciting way to meet new people, try new activities, and join a friendly, online community. There will be opportunities to meet other members in breakout rooms, or to simply attend an online event with hundreds of people around the world.
As our current member Pat expressed: “It’s very impressive that I feel as if I’m meeting up with friends in this group! There is a great feeling of involvement that isn’t usually achieved even in small online groups!”
Sheila adds: “I am looking forward to the Festival of Belonging week and hoping to get some friends and family to join as well to show them what great events I am attending as Mirthy is the best thing that happened to me, for my mental well-being and being in the know.”
Well then, what are you waiting for? Take a look at the free events on offer by going to www.mirthy.co.uk/festival-of-belonging/