Ways to combat loneliness

20 April 2020

Facing long periods of time alone at home is something many of us have never experienced, and you may find yourself unprepared for the feelings of loneliness. If you’re feeling disconnected, there are many things you can do that will help.

Man sitting on window ledge looking out window

Here are some ideas that you can try at home:

1. Keep to a schedule 

It’s important to try to keep to a regular schedule as much as possible.  Try starting each day with a plan of a few things that you will do, and you can always keep a daily diary about what you are doing. Tracking systems will also help you to feel like you are being proactive about the situation. 

2. Do something meaningful 

Another contributor to feelings of loneliness can be a loss of sense of meaning. All of us want to feel like we belong and that our life has importance, which is why incorporating meaningful activities into each day is important. Doing something meaningful each day, even if only for a short period, such as an online class or signing up to a volunteer programme will give you a sense of purpose and identity.   

3. Stay active 

We sometimes forget that our physical and mental health are delicately intertwined. If you spend weeks of isolation not getting any exercise, this will have a detrimental effect on your ability to cope mentally.  Why not sign up to some of our free online fitness classes to get you started.

4. Practice self-compassion 

Remember to be kind to yourself!  If you find yourself saying things like "I shouldn't be feeling this way", this will only make your loneliness persist. Instead of resisting your feelings, find ways to be accepting of them as coming and going. Remember that your feelings will change.

5. Find sources of comfort

Finding ways to give yourself comfort even when you are feeling lonely can help to improve your mental health. Some ideas of "comfort measures" that you can take even if you are alone include lighting scented candles, cooking healthy comfort food, taking a bath, giving yourself a foot massage or reading a new book. 

6. Create something 

Expressing yourself through creative means can be therapeutic, and there are many projects you can try at home.  Whether it’s writing a daily blog, compiling a photo album, or even organising a space in your home, every little thing will help!  If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at knitting, now is also the perfect time as the Institute of Making are running free weekly sessions. 

7. Plan for your future 

While it might feel like this loneliness will last forever, there will come a time that you'll be back to your usual routines. One way to feel less alone now is to make plans for the future or do things that help you to focus on the future. Why not make a ‘future list’ of all the things you want to do and plan something fun for when things begin getting back to normal. 

8. Show compassion to others 

It might seem counterintuitive, but if you are struggling yourself, sometimes offering help to others who are feeling lonely can make you feel less lonely yourself. Make a phone call, send a text, send a letter, or comment on someone's social media posts. Be supportive and offer words of encouragement.