Feeling lonely can be fleeting, felt for just a day, or for it can be a longer term emotion. It is useful to think positively about doing something to help yourself out of loneliness, while remembering not to blame yourself for feeling this way.

If you have been feeling lonely for a while, a first step is to notice and identify this, even if just to yourself. This can help you to think about what you could do to help yourself, or how to ask for help from others.

Think about yourself

Think about what you would like more of – maybe time with friends or family, if so invite them to visit. Often if you are lonely you think people do not want to visit. This is understandable but often people will respond to an invitation and will come and spend quality time with you.

Look after yourself

If you can do something to improve your health, take small steps to eat well, take gentle exercise and keep active, all of these things can help you to relax more fully in your own company.

Your community and neighbourhood

Find out what local activities are being planned and book them up: walks, singing groups, book clubs and bridge. For example, Contact the Elderly and the University of the Third Age have a wide range of local social groups and activities across the UK.

Speak to a health worker if you feel very lonely

Long term loneliness could contribute to later depression and other health problems. Your GP should be able to direct you to local services that can help.

Share your skills and time with others

You can offer time or specific skills by helping out in your street, neighbourhood or with local organisations. You could volunteer with the Royal Voluntary Service, Sense or Independent Age who support older people.