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Coping with loneliness

Some of the advice on this page may be difficult to follow during the coronavirus outbreak. Read more about minding your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.

There are lots of ways to deal with loneliness and isolation. The solution depends on what's causing these feelings.

For example, if you've moved out of home or to a different country, it's natural you'll feel lonely at first.

How to deal with loneliness

Get busy

Keeping yourself busy is a very effective way of dealing with loneliness.

If you're bored or can't find a job, volunteer with an organisation you care about or an event you might be interested in. Feeling needed and useful is important sometimes.

Know you're not alone

Feeling lonely doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. For example, leaving secondary school or college to do something new, can be a scary time for everyone.

Being unemployed is also stressful. Life feels very different and the future is uncertain.

Remember that everyone goes through lonely periods in life.

Boost your self-esteem

A lack of confidence can hold you back in social situations. Meeting new people can be stressful when you don't feel good about yourself. Think of one thing about yourself that others admire, and build on that.

Related topics

Building your self-confidence

Explore your interests

Taking up a hobby you've always wanted to get into can help you fight loneliness and isolation.

If you're on your own in a new place, a hobby can be a great way of meeting new people and making new friends.

If you're feeling lonely for no obvious reason, taking up an evening class or sport can help take your mind off it.

Related topics

Finding activities to do with others

Enjoy your own company

This might feel strange at first if you're used to being around other people. But, spending time alone can be liberating.

The freedom to be alone with your thoughts can be a great way of winding down. Try and feel comfortable with just yourself for company.

Think of people you want to be around. Generally, they are people who are very comfortable in themselves. That quality is attractive to others. Learning to be on your own and like your own company is a step towards this kind of confidence.

Try not to worry

Feelings of loneliness often come and go during life. Sometimes the best thing to do is accept your feelings. Remember, you'll probably feel better after a while.

If you're lonely because you're homesick, think about when you'll be back with your friends and family. Try to enjoy the new experiences you're having away from home.

If you're constantly lonely for no obvious reason, it could be a sign of depression. This is something you should talk about to family, friends or a counsellor.

Mind yourself

Sometimes when you feel lonely or isolated, you are more vulnerable. Here are some tips on taking care of yourself.

Take what you see online with a pinch of salt

What people put on social media can make you feel worse if you're feeling low. Remember, people publish the best of themselves online. Try not to get jealous looking at other people's photos and posts.

Be wary of certain groups

When you're lonely, the idea of belonging somewhere becomes more attractive. Cults and gangs often target lonely people, knowing they might be vulnerable.

Be selective in relation to the groups or clubs you choose to join. Make sure the group you join is a positive influence and makes you feel good about yourself.

Don't become too online dependent

Online communities can be a great social outlet, but don't rely on them too much. Make sure you balance your social life and make the effort to talk to people in person.

Build trust slowly

When you're lonely, you may place too much weight on new friendships and relationships. Build trust gradually, take it slow and accept your new friends as they are. Take your time with new relationships.

page last reviewed: 23/09/2018
next review due: 23/09/2021

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