This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is all about shining a light on loneliness. Loneliness can happen to anyone – it’s not just the tired stereotype of older people living alone. In a 2019 survey, nearly a ¼ of 18-24 year old said they suffer from loneliness, with 88% of respondents saying they struggle with feelings of loneliness to some degree.
The pandemic and social distancing shone a light on loneliness. Lockdowns were a challenging time for so many of us. We weren’t able to see our supportive friends and connect with our communities in person.
At HulaFit we’re passionate about mental health. Hula hooping can be a great way to tackle loneliness. Whether it’s making lifelong connections through the hooping community, teaching a kid and their parent in the local park, or starting a conversation with someone in the street when they ask ‘how many of those can you spin at once?’ Because trust us, this does happen.
Hula hooping breaks down barriers and helps us find connections. They’re a great conversation starter, and a way to let loose, relax and have fun. When you take up hooping it’s super easy to make new friends and connections. Whether it’s at an in-person class, jam space, on Instagram or through Facebook groups, new friendships are around the corner.
But don’t just take our word for it. We reached out to the hooping community to hear what they had to say:
“In my earlier years, I was very much a shy, sensitive person who struggled to talk with others – this was a barrier to making friends and provided a foundation for depression and low self-esteem. Something happened. I discovered Hula Hooping. When I learned to hula hoop some ten years ago, I not only found a way of keeping fit, improving my coordination, and having fun, but I suddenly found it easier to connect with other people.
“I love the fact that sometimes, just playing with my hoops can transform my mood. The end of a bad day can be lifted when I play with hoops. Sometimes they misbehave, sometimes they just do what they always do but they are always there for me, unquestioning and non-judgemental like a loyal friend.
Not just that, but when you hoop, people will ask if they can join you. Some people have experienced the joy and flow of hooping before – they “get it!”, but more often, people will come forward and tell you that they’ve never been able to hula hoop themselves. I’ve taught the basics to many people and feel that not only are you sharing a valuable skill, but you’re creating a friendship in the process.”
Nicola – @Mrsbshulaskoola and Lisa Truscott
“I am so grateful to the hooping community and hula hoops for getting us all together!”
“Last year a few hoopy Instagram friends and I got together IN REAL LIFE and spent an amazing weekend in Bristol, laughing, chatting and of course hooping!
I can honestly say that I hadn’t laughed so much in such a long time, it really made me so very happy and literally made my heart sing for days after. We are all still really good friends along with a couple of girls who couldn’t make it and often message each other with hoop teaching/hoop/children and life advice! I am so grateful to the hooping community and hula hoops for getting us all together!”
“I often feel misunderstood, lonely and completely overwhelmed by the world around me. But not when I hoop.”
“I’m a neurodivergent hula hoop teacher and performer. I often feel misunderstood, lonely and completely overwhelmed by the world around me. But not when I hoop. The online hoop community, in particular on Instagram, has kept me alive on more than one occasion. I’ve found allies, friends and a support network I often feel I don’t deserve.
“My hula hoop students have become my friends, we looked out for each other through all the lockdowns via my online classes and the chats that went with them. They supported me and checked in on me when my marriage was falling apart, brought me hot chocolate and a listening ear when I needed it. I’m still neurodivergent in a neurotypical world, even with hula hoopers, but it’s different to my everyday friends and people I see in everyday life. I feel like I can say all the wrong things and even when they get annoyed with that, they will move on and forgive me once we pick up our hoops.”
“Since I started hula hooping 8 years ago I have made so many connections which have turned into amazing friendships! Some people I met in real life and just clicked with, some people we got chatting online and then met up in real life a few months later, and some people I talk to on Instagram every week and we are meeting up in the very near future! I can say I’m truly grateful for this wonderful community we have over the shared love of spinning a hoop. It has led me to form some incredible friendships!”
Sam – Hoopernaughts
‘I work online, which allows me to travel and live in different places. Hooping is such a wonderful way to quickly make friends everywhere I go. Whenever I meet another hooper, we always form a strong bond very quickly. I also teach hula-hooping, which is a wonderful way for me to form a community and share my passion with new people!”
Thanks to all our lovely hoopers for getting involved and sharing their experiences of hula hooping and making new friends.
Our HulaFit classes are a fun and safe space to work out, get the giggles and drop the hoop. You’re guaranteed to meet a friendly bunch of people, expand your friendship circles and learn a fab new skill. If you’re interested in giving hula hooping a go, and want to make new friends, Find your local HulaFit class today.