Loneliness is different for everyone – here are some ideas to help manage how loneliness affects you
CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on me
We all feel lonely from time to time. Feelings of loneliness are personal, so everyone’s experience of loneliness will be different. Here are six ideas on how to manage these feelings.
Take it slow
If you’ve felt lonely for a long time it can be terrifying to think about trying to meet new people, or opening up to people for the first time – but you don’t need to rush into anything.
You could try doing an online activity where other people attend but you’re not expected to interact with them, such as a drawing lesson.
Try peer support
There are many different types of peer support services; they provide people with a space to use their own experiences to help and support each other, including experiences of loneliness and related mental health problems. These are some different types of peer support which you may find useful:
- Try a befriender service. Various charities offer telephone befriender services, which put volunteer befrienders in touch with people who are feeling lonely.
- Join an online community like Side by Side. Communities like these can provide a place to listen and share with others who have similar experiences. They are available 24 hours a day and most are free and easy to access from wherever you are.
Make new connections
If you are feeling lonely because of a lack of satisfying social contact in your life, you could try to meet new people. Join a class or group based on your hobbies or interests – this could include online groups, if you can’t attend things in person, or volunteering. Helping others can help improve your mental health.
Try to open up
If you feel like you know plenty of people but don’t feel close enough to them to receive the care and attention you need, you can open up about how you feel to friends and family. If you don’t feel comfortable opening up like this you could try speaking with a therapist or using a peer support service.
Talking therapies allow you to explore and understand your feelings of loneliness and can help you develop positive ways of dealing with them. They focus on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour, and teach you coping skills for dealing with different problems.
Be careful when comparing yourself to others
It is very hard to stop comparing ourselves to others. We all do it, but it can help to be aware that things are not always what they seem from the outside. It’s important to remind yourself that you don’t know how other people feel when they are alone, or when their social media feeds are turned off.