Canada is a fantastic country to live in. It has everything you want: a great economy, a wonderful natural setting, liberal and friendly people, etc. But living here has its downsides, such as cold weather and remoteness of some parts. So, you might wonder, is Canada a lonely place?
Canada can be lonely. A study shows that 31% of Canadian adults report feeling lonely, while 1 in every 10 Canadians aged 15 and above say the same. You can cope with loneliness by determining why you feel lonely, reaching out to others, meeting new people, seeking help, and giving yourself time.
However, it’s important to identify and deal with loneliness early enough as it can reduce the quality of life and affect mental health. Here, we discuss whether Canada is a lonely place and how to deal with loneliness in Canada.
What is Loneliness?
Loneliness refers to the negative feeling when one’s need for social interaction goes unmet. There are various definitions of what could be considered loneliness ranging from a feeling of isolation to disconnectedness. Given that it’s self-reported, there’s no way to determine what amounts to loneliness conclusively.
Loneliness in Canada
A global survey in 2021 shows that about 33% of people world wide claim to experience some form of loneliness either always, often, or sometimes. Brazil, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia had the three highest numbers of lonely people globally. But Canada also has a significant portion of its population who claim to be lonely. 31% of Canadians experience loneliness always, often, or sometimes. But 36% of Canadians claim they never or hardly ever experience loneliness.
In another survey, 1 in every 10 Canadians 15 and above admitted to feeling lonely always or often. The Canadian social survey conducted between August and September 2021 revealed this and showed that it’s most common among young people and women not in a relationship. Younger women appear to suffer more from loneliness than any other age group. However, loneliness isn’t peculiar to any part of society. It’s a problem that can affect almost everyone. These include seniors, young adults, single people, immigrants, etc.
Another factor that shows the sign of loneliness in the country is the number of single-person households. As far back as 2016, 28% of households in the country are single-person households. This means that almost 4 million people in the country live alone. While living alone, itself doesn’t amount to loneliness. However, it’s a factor that could contribute to loneliness. This is especially true for adults and seniors. The loneliness epidemic in the country appears to have escalated with the pandemic due to the lockdowns.
How To Cope with Loneliness in Canada?
There are several ways to cope with loneliness in Canada. That includes:
1. Reach Out to Others
People commonly suffer loneliness alone and wait for others to contact them when they feel lonely. Sometimes, even deciding not to reach out to others is the root of that loneliness. So, one of the best ways to deal with loneliness is by getting in touch with people. You don’t need to wait for people to contact you. Be the one who makes the first attempt. For instance, if you’re missing a friend, call them. They might be missing you too.
2. Meet New People
Loneliness isn’t always because you’re not reaching out. Sometimes you might even reach out to people, but they don’t reciprocate. If that’s your case, you might want to expand your circle. Making new friends gives you the chance to have new experiences and fulfil any need that’s making you feel lonely. Of course, expanding your circle might not always be easy, especially if you’re naturally introverted. But you can still do it.
Start by exploring your hobbies. Some likely have similar hobbies; from there, you could meet new people. For example, if you like reading, join a book club. You can do this both physically and online. Volunteering is another way to expand your circle in Canada.
3. Seek Help
Loneliness could be a sign of a much deeper problem and could also impact your mental health. So, you shouldn’t shy away from asking for help. There are lots of services that will connect you to healthcare experts that will help you. Seeking help can be as simple as talking to a close friend or confidante for a start. But if you don’t have anyone like that, you might consider using experts. Nonprofits such as Red Cross Canada have the friendly calls program, which could help those feeling lonely.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is another organization you can reach out to when feeling lonely. With a presence in all provinces and territories, the organization provides resources that will help you improve your mental health and build resilience.
4. Determine Why You Feel Lonely
This is the first thing you should do when you’re experiencing loneliness. Knowing the reason for your loneliness helps you decide how to deal with it. You might feel lonely because you isolate yourself from people, or you might even feel lonely in the company of others. Knowing why and when you feel lonely is important.
5. Give Yourself Time
You could be lonely because you just experienced a major change in your life. For example, if you recently moved to Canada from another country or just changed your job. These major events could have pivotal impacts on your life, and it’s possible to feel different during this transition period.
In most cases, the best thing to do is give it time. Suppose you’re new to Canada and feel lonely. Just give yourself some time while making real efforts to meet new people. In a matter of months, you’ll notice some changes, and you might start feeling at peace again.
Effects of Loneliness
When loneliness persists, it could cause anxiety, depression, and other health problems. A study discovered that people who feel lonely have a high probability of dying earlier. So, it’s important to take loneliness as a serious issue and make healthy efforts to get back to being yourself.
Living in Canada is great and could be fun. But it could also be lonely sometimes, even when you feel connected to everything. Fortunately, there are several healthy ways to deal with loneliness in Canada. Many community organizations are also willing to help.