I feel lonely. What can I do?
Feeling lonely is not something to be embarrassed about. We can all feel lonely, regardless of life experiences, age, or background.
Everyone will have a different experience of loneliness and different reasons for why they are feeling this way. There is no one way to effectively deal with loneliness but lots of different things that can and do help.
We do not provide direct services or have a helpline, but lots of support is available from charities. Visit our helpful links page for more information on the support available. Your are not alone.
Connect with others
Catch up with friends
Reach out to your friends by picking up the phone or sending them a message through social media. We can sometimes think our friends will be too busy too chat. But you might be surprised when you make the first step to connect.
Invest time in new connections
Joining local groups or classes based on your interests is one of the best ways of making new connections[i][ii]. Volunteering is another excellent way to get involved in your local community[iii]. Not only is it a great way to meet new people, but you can also develop your own skills and interests.
Little steps can make a difference
Say ‘hello’ to a neighbour, your local shop keeper or a person at the bus stop. Small chats can go a long way in helping us to feel more connected with others. You might also brighten someone’s else’s day.
If you feel uncomfortable striking up a conversation, our Be More Us campaign shared tips on how to talk to strangers.
Technology is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, and make new friends. There are often free courses offered in libraries and in community centres to help improve your digital skills.
For instance, many local Age UK branches offer silver surfer classes.
Consider support and services
Don’t keep it to yourself
Talking to someone about how you feel and learning positive coping techniques can be a helpful way to cope with the negative emotions associated with loneliness. You can access talking therapies through your GP, community support organisations, or privately.
Find out what support is available in your neighbourhood
Your local council may have a Community Hub to connect you with a range of services, groups and activities to meet your needs. Community Connectors and Social Prescribers can also help to connect you with opportunities to improve your health and wellbeing more broadly. Talk to your GP about how to access these services in your local area.
Visit our helpful links page for more information on the support available nationally.
Things you can do if you prefer to manage alone
Plan your week to do something you enjoy
Plan your week to include a hobby or activity that makes you feel good, such as doing something creative, reading, gardening, or listening to music.
Spend time outdoors
Going outside regularly, be it in your garden or a walk to the park, is a great mood booster. Spending time outdoors can help us to feel more connected to our neighbourhood and the natural world.
Look after yourself
Prioritise looking after yourself. Make sure you are eating healthily, being as active as you can be, and sleeping well.
Focus on the good things in life
When we feel lonely, we can sometimes get ourselves into a negative frame of mind. Thinking about the good things in our lives, or remembering happy times such as a holiday, can help us to feel more positively about ourselves and the people around us.