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Alone but not lonely: Winnipeg therapist weighs in with ways to shake loneliness

The most recent batch of Statistics Canada census data has shown a growing number of single-person households.

More Canadians are living and travelling alone.

Insight Vacations

More Canadians are living and travelling alone.

Canadians are spending more and more time alone.

The most recent batch of Canadian census data shows a growing number of single-person households — and on Thursday adventure travel company Intrepid Travel announced it would be launching new solo-only tours in response to a survey it did reflecting a significant growth in single travellers this year.

Living or traveling alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely, but there are factors that can contribute to feelings of isolation.  

Screen time

“With social media, people I think, look to that for making connections, to sort of mitigate the loneliness, but I don’t think that can ever replace true relationships, or a real connection for people,” said Winnipeg-based therapist Holly Lowe.

Especially in Canada’s older population, “it’s not really creating an avenue for them.”

Social media is likely here to stay, Lowe added, and some people have found ways to make it work.

Websites like meetup.com offer people the opportunity to meet like-minded people. In Winnipeg, there are groups for moms, not-so-pro golfers, vegans, knitters and a number of other interests.

Reach out

Sometimes when people are affected by things like trauma, loss, depression, or any host of issues they cut themselves off from others.

“When things are going on in their lives, what they can do is isolate themselves and I think that isolation can create loneliness,” Lowe said.

Find your interests

“I think that, part of it [avoiding loneliness] is finding ways to become connected to the community, whatever way that is,” Lowe said. “I’ve worked with people who feel that working at the Humane Society is really helpful, working with animals feels a lot more safe for them.”

When looking to become connected to a community, she said, it’s important for people to look for interests or people that resonate, whether that’s through volunteering, a sport, or a church activity.

Volunteer Manitoba has a list of available openings online, which can cater to a range of schedules, and the Winnipeg Rec League has a number of sports available year-round.

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