Coping with loneliness
Loneliness is an issue that can affect us all at some point in our lives. Here are our top tips for what you can do and where you can go for support:
Loneliness is an emotion like any other
Loneliness is as natural an emotion as joy and sadness. Everyone will feel lonely from time to time and it will invariably pass. It’s important not to blame yourself for feeling lonely; remember, often it’s a reaction to not having the right quality of connections you need at a particular time.
Identify what’s making you feel lonely
Figuring out what is making you feel lonely may help you find the right solutions to help you feel more connected. Reaching out to friends and family and opening up about how you feel may help kickstart this process and get you on your way to feeling better.
Make the call
Being the first one to reach out can be daunting but more often than not, people are happy to hear from you. Send a text or email to a sympathetic friend or family member and invite them to meet.
Join local groups and activities
Joining a local club or activity class can help you make new connections in your community. Use our interactive map to discover activities designed to support people experiencing loneliness in your local area. Or simply take the opportunity to follow up something you’ve always wanted to try; groups such as local choirs, running clubs or even craft evenings often cater for all levels of ability and welcome new members.
Giving your time to help others in need can be enormously rewarding. Not only can you help alleviate loneliness in the wider community, feeling useful and sharing skills are both powerful antidotes to loneliness.
Going outside into nature and taking gentle exercise has been proven to lift the feeling of loneliness. The Wildlife Trust, for example, runs hundreds of local volunteering groups across the UK.
Unplug and unwind
Social media can be a great way of feeling more connected to the world but it can also make us feel more isolated if we don’t use it mindfully. If you feel social media is affecting you negatively, consider a digital detox and replacing your time spent online with family, friends or doing a hobby or activity.
Speak to your health visitor or GP
If you’re really struggling with loneliness and you think it’s affecting your physical or mental health, speak to your health visitor or GP. They will be able to direct you towards services that will help you get out of the house and meet new people.
If you’re feeling nervous about attending a group or club for the first time, ask a friend or family member if they will attend with you or ask the person running the activity if you can just watch at first. And, if joining a club feels too big, consider going somewhere where you can simply be around people and not be expected to talk to them such as a cafe, a park, a museum, the cinema or a sports event.
Charities can help
There are many local and national charities who offer help and guidance on how to manage loneliness. Campaign to End Loneliness, The Marmalade Trust, Age UK, British Red Cross and The Samaritans are just a few of the organisations that are well-equipped to help you if you are feeling lonely.
0800 169 65 65
Advice and information for older people.
0808 808 7777
Independent information and support for carers.
Contact the Elderly
0800 716 543
Social activities for people over 75 with little or no social support.
Website advertising volunteering opportunities
Online community for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, curious or unsure.
0808 802 0925
Advice and practical support for single parents.
Directory of services and groups for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard
0300 330 0630
Support and information for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in the UK.
Website that allows you to find face-to-face groups of people who share your interests or aspirations.
Online community for parents
Online community for parents which facilitates local meet-ups.
Database of local volunteer centres
0300 100 1234
Counselling for adults with relationship difficulties.
Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK Chris, PO Box 90 90
Stirling FK8 2SA
helpline: 116 123 firstname.lastname@example.org samaritans.org
24-hour support for anyone in distress or despair.
Side by Side
Services to help people with mental health problems meet others across nine areas.
The Silver Line
helpline: 0800 4 70 80 90 (freephone)
Provides support, information, advice and friendship to older people (over the age of 55) who may feel lonely or isolated. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Information about volunteering opportunities.
Web of loneliness
Online community and website which provides information and tips on loneliness. Also allows users to share artwork and poetry.