How to cope with loneliness

Last reviewed on May 2022

One impact of COVID-19 has been that more people feel lonely. Going in and out of lockdowns and not being able to mix with other people created a feeling of social and emotional isolation.

Even though restrictions have eased, you might still not be seeing your friends, relatives and colleagues as much as you did before the pandemic – especially if you work from home.

As Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Independent Age and Chair of the Campaign to End Loneliness, says, “Even before COVID-19, millions of people in the UK were experiencing loneliness. The lockdown, while necessary, has exacerbated this problem, particularly for older people, who are more likely to live alone, and less likely to be internet users.”

But loneliness and isolation don’t just affect older people. Research by What Works Wellbeing in 2020 revealed that young adults (aged 18-30) were also at greater risk of loneliness during the pandemic.

You might find it useful to follow these five steps to improve your overall mental wellbeing:

  1. Connect with other people – by phone, email or video chat if you can’t see them in person
  2. Be physically active – go for a walk, a run or a bike ride or do an online workout
  3. Learn something new each day – read a book, try a new hobby or sign up for a course
  4. Give to others – could you offer to help a neighbour or volunteer for a local charity?
  5. Pay attention to the present moment – download a mindfulness app, such as Be Mindful

You can find out more in our article about five ways to good mental wellbeing. If you’re feeling anxious, stressed, low or you’re having trouble sleeping, you might find our self-assessment tool useful.

This blog by the Campaign to End Loneliness provides useful guidance for older people on what to do if you’re feeling lonely due to COVID-19. For younger people, the YoungMinds website contains lots of great resources, including tips on coping with loneliness and a blog about dealing with down days in self-isolation. If you’re at university, check out this article on the Student Space website.

Useful websites and helplines

Age UK (0800 169 6565)

Campaign to End Loneliness

Independent Age (0800 319 6789)

Marmalade Trust

Mind

Samaritans (116 123)

Shout (text SHOUT to 85258)

Student Space

The Mix (0808 808 4994)

The Silver Line (0800 4 70 80 90)

The Student Room

YoungMinds

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