In conversation with Dr Sarah Bailey; how to spot the signs of loneliness

As part of our ‘companiions In Conversation with…’ series, Founder and CEO Lisa spoke to doctor and personal trainer Dr Sarah Bailey to talk about what we can all do to spot loneliness in ourselves and others, as well as the simple steps we can take to make a difference.

Meet Dr Sarah Bailey

Empathetic, expert and a force for positivity in the world, Sarah is just the sort of thought leader we love to chat with. She’s a General Practice Trainee and personal trainer based in the West Midlands. 

As a family doctor, Sarah sees patients of all ages on a daily basis and works with them to make their lives better, finding solutions to health problems large and small. As a sports medic and personal trainer, she has a passion for lifestyle medicine, health and fitness. It’s always been her dream to bring that holistic understanding into her medical career, to help people enjoy greater health and happiness. 

Here’s a handful of expert insights from our conversation:

How to spot the signs of loneliness

While none of us would want a loved one to be suffering with loneliness, spotting the signs of loneliness is vital. Only then can you do something about it. These signs may occur in your elderly relatives, loved ones or even yourself.

Here are 7 signs of loneliness to look out for:

  1. Withdrawal
  2. Increased stress
  3. Angry outbursts
  4. Missing appointments
  5. An unusually untidy home
  6. A new inability to cook regular meals
  7. A reduced appetite

Signs show up differently in different people, so it’s important to stay aware. When you keep the question of loneliness front of mind, you’ll be better placed to notice when someone you care about is having a tough time.  

How to help your loved one overcome loneliness

Have brave conversations

Loneliness is still a taboo and few of us want to admit when we’re feeling lonely or need a bit of help, especially Brits. By being brave and beginning that awkward conversation with your loved one, you have a chance to connect on a deeper level. And it really doesn’t have to be that awkward. “How are things going at the moment?”, “How are you feeling?”, “What are you doing to stay motivated day-to-day?”, and “Who have you seen lately?” are all useful, respectful open questions to ask. Through normalising these conversations, we can all do our bit to bring loneliness to light. 

It’s also worth remembering that none of us are immune from feeling lonely. It can impact young mums, single parents, students and unemployed people just as much as elderly people, for example. Sarah mentions a lockdown survey in which 25% of respondents said they’d felt lonely in the last two weeks. For more leading research and information on loneliness, take a look at our trusted partner Campaign to End Loneliness

Take action towards togetherness

If you or someone you love is struggling with loneliness, the good news is there’s a lot you can do about it. Quick tips to turn things around include: checking in regularly by text or WhatsApp, offering to do chores, sending letters and cards, and simply asking how you can help. Companionship and friendship can help turn loneliness into togetherness

companiions is here to make sure your loved one gets regular local support, closely tailored to their needs. We launched companiions during the middle of the coronavirus epidemic, at a time when loneliness was a serious issue for many – of all backgrounds and ages. It’s our mission to bring companionship to every community. We truly believe people don’t have to feel alone. Our service brings together people who need a little help or companionship with trusted companions, quickly, easily and safely. 

Watch the conversation

Want to know more? Catch up on our Instagram Live conversation below. 

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You can also keep up-to-date with Dr Sarah Bailey’s latest tips and advice by following her on Instagram at @thegymmedic.

If you’re new to companiions, download the app today and sign up to arrange companionship for yourself or a loved one, or to offer companionship services to others in your area. You’ll be doing your bit to turn loneliness into togetherness.