LAST week we all waited in anticipation to hear what restrictions would be relaxed in relation to the government’s lockdown rules.

Some of us will now have adjusted to these changes and may be starting the first tentative steps towards getting back to some kind of normality.

However, what we should not forget is that many are still having to self-isolate, either because they are in the ‘shielded group’ or because they have some other long term health conditions.

The fact that some may be enjoying a little more freedom regarding their ability to go out can make the feeling of loneliness and isolation seem stronger for others.

Loneliness is a deeply personal experience - how it is perceived and managed is unique to every individual.

It has been shown that loneliness can lead to physical and mental health problems and can be as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and as damaging as obesity.

If you are someone who is still having to self-isolate and the fact that others around you are being able to exercise and leave the house more often is making you feel more isolated, please be assured that there are people who are here to support you.

Age UK South Lakeland continues to offer a full range of services, including telephone befriending.

So if you need any support or help, please contact us on 030 300 30003.

For those of us who are able to take advantage of the new relaxed rules, let us take time to consider whether we know anyone who may be feeling lonely or isolated and just take the time to give them a call and say hello.