How to tell if you’re lonely (and what to do about it)

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Are you alone or lonely? There’s a big difference, and the latter can really affect your mental wellbeing. But finding the cause of your loneliness could be the start of your journey to overcoming it

How to tell if you’re lonely (and what to do about it)

While many people love grabbing some ‘alone time’, others may have had more than enough – research from the Mental Health Foundation reveals that nearly 30% of us feel lonely some or all of the time. That figure jumps to 70% for people who’ve felt lonely at any point in the last month.

Feeling lonely now and again is a normal part of life, but if those feelings continue, loneliness can negatively impact our mental health. So, what’s causing us to feel lonely, and how can we tackle the issue to help everyone feel more connected?

Alone or lonely?

Although they sound similar, there’s a big difference between being alone and feeling lonely. “Being alone means you can be in your own space with no one around you and feel perfectly happy. But when you’re lonely, you feel the absence of other people,” says counsellor Jenny Warwick. “As a result, loneliness makes you feel isolated and unhappy.”

You can also feel lonely in a big group of people. Jenny says: “You might feel as though no one ‘gets’ you, or feel isolated because of an experience you’re going through, such as bereavement, that no one else there has experienced.” And while we often choose to be alone, none of us choose to be lonely.

That’s because loneliness makes us feel sad, and as if there’s a gap between us and other people. This could be a physical gap – if you live somewhere remote, for example – or an emotional gap; a lack of connection with others.

Feeling lonely can also trigger emotions we might not traditionally associate with loneliness. “You can be quite hard on yourself, asking “Have I done something wrong?”, or “What’s wrong with me?”’ says Jenny.

Loneliness often leads to comparing yourself to others, especially on social media. This is more than FOMO when looking at photos of parties or someone’s holiday, but feeling like you don’t deserve those things. This can turn into a vicious cycle of feeling lonely, rejected, withdrawing, and feeling lonelier as a result.

What causes loneliness?

The most obvious cause in recent times has been the Covid-19 pandemic – lockdowns, social distancing, travel restrictions, plus the on-going stress and feelings of isolation, to name a few. The pandemic also brought some people’s emotions sharply into focus.

Jenny says: “You might’ve thought you were OK being on your own, but the past few years made you realise you were covering up feelings of loneliness by keeping busy. Being forced to spend so much time alone has made many people recognise the fact they were lonely all along.”

Social media can be a big contributor to loneliness, and not just because it feels like everyone is having fun without us. Dr Dean Burnett, neuroscientist and author of The Happy Brain (£12.99, Guardian Faber Publishing), says that although the

2022 Holiday Gift Guide for Her

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Sharing gift guide ideas for your mom, grandma, aunt, SIL, bestie, or for yourself!

I’m calling it. The holiday season is officially here and I’m so ready for it! Bring on the family fun, delicious food, and festive parties. Gift-wise, I’m trying to get my act together EARLY this year. My goal is to have everything ordered by Cyber Monday, wrapped that week, and then I can kick back, relax and enjoy the holiday season with the fam. I wanted to share gift guides early this year in case you have similar goals this season!

I’m starting the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide party with one of my favorite gift guides: for Her! <— it’s also the easiest to put together!

These are ideas for your fitness-loving friends, the foodies, the BFFs, for your mom, MIL or nana, for the new moms out there, plus stocking stuffers and under $40 finds!

2021 Holiday Gift Guide for Her

Gifts for the fitness fanatic:

A sauna blanket or PEMF Go Mat. My liiiiiiiiiiiife and two of my very favorite things. I use the Go Mat daily for meditation, and use the sauna blanket 2-3 times per week and it feels amaaaaazing. I sleep so well and it makes my skin glow. Use FITNESSISTA15 for 15% off HigherDOSE faves.

– A new yoga mat and mat towel. I’ve had my Manduka mat for over 10 years and it’s still my favorite one.

Our go-to wireless headphones

– The best crosstraining sneakers.

-My top leggings pick. I always come back to these ones because the quality is amazing and they’re not see-through at all.

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Better together: discover the power of kindness and community spirit

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Could being there for one another, as shoulders to lean on in tough times, be the secret to improving our mental wellbeing?

Better together: discover the power of kindness and community spirit

Do you know the one thing you’ll never regret? Being kind.

When times are tough, and we’re all being tested in just about every way imaginable, we can never underestimate the impact of a thoughtful gesture.

A simple, selfless act could mean more than you’ll ever know. In fact, studies have even shown that goodwill has a ripple effect, lending credence to the saying ‘No good deed is ever wasted,’ and reminding us of the power we all have to make the world a better place.

This is exemplified in the nature of community spirit – the idea of pulling together, and strength in numbers.

The stories shared in our feature on p25 of issue 68 demonstrate the huge difference you can make by looking out for each other. Be there for someone on your good days, and you’ll find a shoulder to lean on during your bad ones, too.

With this in mind, our article on how to be a great advocate on p19 is a must-read, revealing exactly what your mental health rights are, so you can stand up for yourself and others.

Plus, on p71 we share how to bridge the divide of miscommunication to help us all get on the same page, and on p55 we discover why letting go of grudges and relinquishing resentments could be key to finding freedom and peace for you.

Better together: discover the power of kindness and community spirit

Additionally, in this print edition you'll find:

Engaging features including 44 good news stories to make you smile, how to make the festivities more meaningful, and Kelsey Parker opening up about grief and giving back.

Life-changing hacks on recognising the five 'fs' of stress, steps to heal from narcissistic abuse, and dealing with anxiety around post-birth sex.

Expert insight on a variety of topics including what to do when you're having an 'off day', breaking the taboo on bowel habits, and what to do if you're feeling financially trapped.

At Happiful, we’re calling this the season of self-care, and one of the best ways to feel good about yourself is by helping others.

So, extend a kind thought, share a smile, lend a hand, a shoulder to cry on, words of advice, rallying calls of encouragement and, above all, just be there for one another.

As Winnie-the-Pooh once said, “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

Remember, a little kindness goes a long way.

Rebecca Thair

Better together: discover the power of kindness and community spirit

Happiful's mission
Our company was built on the belief that everyone should have access to mental health support.

Classic Cranberry Sauce Recipe

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Classic Cranberry Sauce Recipe

We got so many requests for a cranberry sauce recipe last year that I finally wrote mine down and photographed it! It is simple and completely homemade.

Growing up was all about avoiding the cranberry sauce around the holidays. My mom wasn’t a huge fan and my dad liked it straight up from a can, so she opened one up every year to please him but none of us partook of that congealed mass of canned fruit. In other words, I never even considered that cranberry sauce could be delicious until a random sandwich shop in town served up a leftover Thanksgiving sandwich that sent me on the most wonderful journey ever. I’ve been sold ever since.

It doesn’t matter if you’re going with a smoked turkey or a roasted turkey, cranberry sauce goes with all of them and it’s a Thanksgiving must-have for our family! Forget the canned stuff and make it from scratch! We use fresh whole cranberries, orange juice and a little sugar to make the most delicious homemade cranberry sauce.

It can be made weeks ahead of time so that it’s ready for the big day.

a photo of a large white serving dish full of cranberry sauce with a silver serving spoon sitting next to the bowl and a small bowl of fresh cranberries next to it.

Ingredients for Homemade Cranberry Sauce

You only need 6 ingredients for this homemade cranberry sauce and I’ll bet you have 4 of them already in the house…maybe 5! Here is what you will need:

  • Cranberries – fresh is best, but you can use frozen
  • White Sugar – adds sweetness and cuts the tartness of the cranberries
  • Brown Sugar – I love the richness of flavor a little brown sugar adds
  • Fresh Orange Juice – this is the key to the whole recipe imho, it wakes the whole dish up!
  • Cinnamon – adds warmth and flavor
  • Cloves – just a hint of cloves adds so much flavor

The measurements for each are listed in the recipe card at the end of this post.

How to Make a Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Recipes just don’t get easier than this! Combine all the ingredien

Israeli Couscous

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Toasted pearl couscous with pistachios and pine nuts, chewy raisins, a hint of cinnamon, and a squeeze of lemon combine in this incredibly flavorful Israeli Couscous dish.

Perfect as a side dish or an easy lunch all on its own, this is one couscous recipe you need to try straight away.

Israeli Couscous

Israeli Couscous

Over a year ago, my sister, Jenny, told me that she had a dish she wanted to make for me and described this Israeli Couscous. I’ve looked forward to trying it ever since the first time she mentioned it.

This past month, we finally had the chance to make this recipe together. Served with Pan Fried Chicken Thighs, this is a meal that is as perfect as it can possibly be.

Savory pine nuts and pistachios coupled with sweet raisins and flavorful mediterranean herbs and spices make Israeli Couscous recipe stand out. It’s so much better than just about any other couscous recipe I’ve tried.

I loved this couscous so much, I hid the leftovers in the back of the fridge and helped myself to them frequently over the next couple days.

This is a wonderfully easy side dish that is substantial enough to stand alone for a meal. Israeli Couscous keeps fabulously in the refrigerator and I can see myself making future batches to eat for my lunches all week long.

What is Couscous?

Couscous looks and cooks very similar to grains like rice and barley but it’s actually pasta! If you’ve only ever had traditional couscous, the itty bitty pieces that have a powdery texture, you might be surprised by Pearl Couscous.

This type of couscous (also called Israeli Couscous) is little round balls of pasta. Pearl Couscous are slightly chewy, a little bit nutty, have a satisfying bite, and taste absolutely nothing like traditional couscous.

Couscous is popular in mediterranean cooking but it’s also a way to shake things up if you’re tired of the usual rice and pasta side dishes. It goes so well in salads and stir-fries and is super easy to cook.

I am head over heels in love with this dish and I can’t encourage you enough to try it for yourself.

israeli couscous in large skillet with brothRead more