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Is your job making you lonely?

In the streets of India’s mega-cities and growing urban centres where it is difficult to find a moment of silence, an unnoticed epidemic festers: loneliness in the workplace. While India’s workforce continues to surge forward in the global economy, a poignant reality lurks behind the glossy facade – a recent study found that India was the second most lonely country in the world.
The traditional Indian work ethic, often characterized by long hours and relentless dedication, comes at a price of increasing loneliness and isolation.

For many, the journey begins with the migration from hometowns to urban centres for employment and financial stability. The promise of a better life takes people away from home and their traditional support systems and pushes them into a new, often unknown and lonely city and environment. In this situation, relationships are often transient, existing within the confines of the workplace and dissipating once the clock strikes five. Moreover, the hierarchical structure of Indian organizations also adds to the sense of isolation. The distance between superiors and subordinates inhibits genuine communication and connections at the workplace.
The repercussions of

workplace loneliness

extend far beyond the confines of the office cubicle. Studies have linked social isolation to numerous physical and

mental health issues

, ranging from depression and anxiety to cardiovascular diseases
Employers are beginning to prioritize

employee well-being

, offering resources and support systems to address the psychological toll of workplace loneliness. Initiatives aimed at fostering a sense of community within workplaces, such as team-building activities and peer support groups can address loneliness at the workplace effectively. By nurturing a culture of empathy and inclusivity, organizations can create environments where people feel valued, heard, and understood.

Tips to deal with loneliness at the workplace:

2

1. Every time a negative thought comes to your mind, about being lonely, replace it with a positive one which affirms that you are valued, loved and supported
2. Visualise your dream-life in terms of relationships, friendships and connections.
3. Commit to talking to your family or someone who loves and values you for at least 5 minutes daily.
4. Limit your social media exposure and increase real human interaction. On social media you may think that you are interacting with people but remember it is virtual after all.

5. Join a community of people who share your interests.
Indian society has traditionally been and continues to be collectivist rather than individualist. In our culture, the threads of human connection runs deep and weave together the fabric of society. As we navigate the complexities of modernity and progress, let us not lose sight of these intrinsic values of our culture. In the battle against loneliness, each one of us has the power to make a difference, to reach out a hand in solidarity and empathy, and to create a world where no one feels alone in the crowd. For in the end, it is not the achievements of our careers that define us but the bonds we forge and the lives we touch along the way.
Authored by: Dr. Hansaji Yogendra, Director of The Yoga Institute.

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