Most of us will feel lonely at some point in our lives. You don’t have to be alone to feel lonely.
You can feel lonely in a crowd, with colleagues at work or with your friends and family. You can feel lonely in your relationship.
Loneliness can be a part of life at any age. Feeling lonely can sometimes be triggered by things like going to university or moving to a new place, retiring or changing jobs, going through a bereavement or a relationship break-up. Many of us have felt lonely in the last two years, as we navigated through lockdowns and working or studying from home.
On this page are some practical suggestions that you might find useful to help you cope if you’re feeling lonely. Some tips may be more useful than others, or you might feel like you need some extra support.
If you need someone to talk to, you can get in touch about anything that’s troubling you, no matter how large or small the issue feels. We won't judge or tell you what to do. Find out more about contacting a Samaritan here.
Loneliness is a normal human feeling but if feelings of loneliness are persistent, it can make you feel disconnected from those around you and affect your mental wellbeing.
Whatever the reason, there are things we can do to help ease feelings of loneliness and feel connected to ourselves and others.
Talk about how you feel
If you’re feeling lonely, it’s good to talk about it – opening up shows great strength. Try sharing how you feel with someone you trust. It could be a friend, a family member, a colleague or your GP. Being open and honest can help connect you to others. If you don’t feel like there is anyone you can talk to, our volunteers are here to listen.
Be kind to yourself
It's important to be kind to yourself – it can be daunting opening up sometimes, and it’s OK to take it at your own pace. Take care of yourself and spend time doing things that you love, whether that’s dancing to your favourite song, watching a comforting film or getting outdoors – give yourself a break.
Connect with your community
Find out what's happening in your local area. There may be a park run or walk, clubs, classes to join or a local organisation you can volunteer with – make sure it’s something you enjoy and really care about. Simply being around others who share your interests may be enough to help.
There are lots of ways we can still feel connected with others, even if we can’t see them. Calling friends or family, joining an online class or taking part in a virtual meet-up about something you're interested in are just some of the ways you can connect with others online.
Connect with nature
From visiting our local parks to tending to plants indoors, spending quality time with nature has been proven to have a positive effect on our mood. It can help to reduce feelings of stress and improve our mental and physical health. For more tips on spending time with nature, both indoors and outdoors, see our mental health and nature page.
Try not to compare yourself to others
We all do it sometimes, and it’s not always easy to stop – especially with social media. Remember, most people are only sharing and posting their best bits. It could heighten feelings of loneliness if you’re comparing yourself to someone else’s highlight reel.
While spending time online with others online is a valuable way to connect, it’s important to take a break from the news and social media if it is causing you to feel stress and anxiety. If you’re finding it hard to step back, you might want to try:
- Turning off alerts and notifications on your devices
- Curating your social media feeds – this could include unfollowing or muting accounts that aren’t helpful
- Setting a limit for your screen time or for reading the news
- Leaving your phone in another room for a few hours and focusing on an activity you enjoy.