Resurgens Orthopaedics blog posts normally focus on the health of the
musculoskeletal system but today we'd like to talk about something
different. Because July 11th
is "Cheer Up the Lonely Day," we want to tell you a bit more about this special
day, about the link between loneliness and health problems, and what you can do
to get involved.
Loneliness and Your Health
We already know about environmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors that can affect our health but did you know that your mental state can also have a big impact on the way your body functions?The stress, depression, and anxiety associated with loneliness can all activate your body's fight or flight response, starting a chain reaction of physical symptoms like high blood pressure, loss of appetite, sleep problems and more.Over time, lonely people are more likely to engage in risky behaviors like substance abuse and self-harm.Although the nature of loneliness makes collecting statistics difficult, it is a fact that one in every five people with depression will eventually attempt to commit suicide, an alarming statistic that really drives home the importance of making a connection with lonely people.
A Special Day to Think of Others
Cheer Up the Lonely Day was created by Michigan resident Francis Pesek who decided to use his birthday (July 11th) as an opportunity to reach out to the lonely people around him.When word got out about Francis's mission, many people in his community and in communities all around the world strongly identified with his desire to help others and decided to do their part.Today, July 11th stands as an annual event that encourages people to think of others who may not be fortunate enough to have a supportive social network with which to share their lives.
How to Get Involved in Cheer Up the Lonely Day
At this point, Cheer Up the Lonely Day is still relatively new and there's no official organization associated with this special day.That means the onus is on you to find ways to help out!It doesn't have to be anything grand; you likely know a person or two in your own neighborhood who doesn't get many visitors.Take this opportunity to knock on their door and say hello!Start small; see how they're doing and go from there.You can try baking some treats to bring with you if you want, but in many cases simple human contact can make a big difference in a lonely person's life.If you want to go big with your cheering-up, you could consider volunteering at a nursing home or retirement community.Many of these people have lost their friends and family over the years, so just having you there to offer a few kind words or listen to their stories can help them alleviate their feelings of loneliness.
No matter how you choose to do it, reach out to someone this July 11th, and remember that you don't have to limit your outreach to just one day. If you make a connection with a lonely person, it's important to maintain that relationship; not only will you be helping someone else, but it can be very rewarding for you as well. All of us at Resurgens Orthopaedics encourage you to use this Cheer Up the Lonely Day to make a positive difference for lonely people in your community. Who knows, it could be the start of a beautiful friendship!