In the run up to Christmas we all look at getting together with friends, families and colleagues to celebrate the season. This the first time post-pandemic that arrangements seem back to normal. But more people are reporting loneliness. Many are nervous of going back to events after such along time. It’s hard pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.  

Have you thought about how you are connecting with people? Is your social life back to what it was? Are you now working from home a lot and missing the interactions with colleagues? I know that I was reticent for a long time to be back out in the wide world and my mobility has declined further over the last few years  so I have difficulties going for a meal or a drink, etc. 

What have I been doing?

I’ve been meeting new people more recently, through teaching workshops and networking events. I find I am energised afterwards and am lifted by the new connections I make. They are physically challenging, but I weigh that against the positives and schedule rest time afterwards. 

I have delivered embroidery sessions to very different groups of people recently, but they both allowed real connection between people. Embroidery is a very relaxing activity, but it can also facilitate people getting to know one another.

I have been teaching workshops for City Arts recently, for a social prescribing scheme aimed at reducing loneliness in older people post pandemic. It has been shown that lonely people have worse health outcomes. 

A few weeks ago I lead a lunchtime Mindful Stitching session at Nottingham Trent Uni. People took a truly screen free, unhurried lunch break. Not everyone had welded a needle before and that didn’t matter. People sat round a table, focused on their stitching and joined the conversation when they wanted. 

It was ok to stay silent, you were still part of the group by doing this communal activity. It was wonderful watching people relax and get to know each other on a less formal level. 

Stitch & Natter is not new

When you think about it people have sewed in groups for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Up until the 20th Century sewing, and if you were lucky, embroidery was something that was needed to be done by all households. And people would gather and chat whilst they did it. 

What’s putting you off connecting with people? Be that new or old friends and colleagues, for business or pleasure. Maybe we all need to push our comfort zone going into 2023.