Throughout the month of August, we will be sharing articles focusing on the subject of loneliness to help raise awareness and positivity during the cold winter months.

Loneliness is a silent epidemic impacting 5 million Australians. Since we cannot physically see the symptoms, it can be hard to tell if someone is yearning for companionship without them telling us.

However, recent research has revealed some tell-tale signs that people who feel lonely all have in common. You may be shocked to see these traits are not so far-fetched!

Spending too much time on social media

Around sixty per cent of the Australian population has a Facebook account, with roughly half of those people checking it every day. However, studies have linked the use of social media with negative effects on wellbeing such as depression, anxiety, poor sleep quality and lower self-esteem – most commonly in adolescent age groups.

Binge-watching television series

While we are perhaps all a little guilty of bingeing television series such as Game of Thrones from time to time, having a tendency to endlessly watch episode after episode was found to have a correlation with feelings of loneliness, according to a study by researchers at the University of Texas. These researchers classified binge-watching as a minor addiction, used to distract people from their depression or social isolation.

Always feeling exhausted

According to a study conducted in South Dakota back in 2011, sensations of loneliness were a key indicator that a person would have fragmented sleep and not feel rested. The study concluded this by measuring the sleep patterns of almost 100 people while simultaneously getting these same people to complete questionnaires about feelings of anxiety and isolation.

Feeling colder than everyone else in the room

Those who feel socially isolated estimate the room temperature to be colder than those who feel socially included, a claim backed by psychologists at the University of Toronto. During their study they also found that rather than an apple or soft drink, people who feel left out from society are also more likely than others to desire hot soup or hot coffee.

Tend to catch a lot of colds

US psychology professor John T. Cacioppo and his team conducted research in 2015 studying the expression of genes in the white blood cells of people who felt socially isolated, alongside people who felt socially included. From this they discovered that the ability of our immune system to function properly was impaired by loneliness as they found that greater inflammation and a weaker immune response was present in people who were feeling lonely.

Access quality social support with Like Family

Can you relate to any of the above signs? Or do these remind you of someone you know?

If you would like an event buddy, assistance with chores, cooking, gardening, or would just like a cup of tea and companionship, Like Family may be perfect for you. With fully vetted Social Carers with a wide range of interests and skills available throughout the east coast of Australia, sign up now to choose a Social Carer in your local area who aligns with your interests. A registered NDIS provider, Like Family is determined to end social isolation and loneliness and has over 100 5-star reviews on Google.