How to deal with loneliness during the coronavirus outbreak

Loneliness is not so much about being physically alone as it is about feeling you’re lacking meaningful social connections. If you find yourself feeling lonely, there are various things you can do to work through it and feel better.

Placeholder

Everyone feels lonely from time to time and for many different reasons. Some people can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely, while others are content to spend most of their time alone.

While we’re all staying at home as much as possible, it’s natural that many of us will be feeling lonelier than normal. If you find yourself feeling this way, here are some tips to help you get through it.

Stay connected with friends and loved ones

It’s absolutely possible to stay connected with your friends and family without meeting in person.

Call, text, email, video call… whichever method you prefer, it’s about keeping the lines of communication open.

However, if you are feeling lonely, seeing someone’s face or even just hearing their voice can be much more powerful than a written message, so pick up the phone!

Schedule in calls or video chats so that you make sure you have them. If you’re not the best conversationalist, why not suggest an online game or quiz?

Establish a routine

Placeholder

Without structure, time can feel endless.

Try as much as you can to stick to a routine, even if it’s different to your regular one.

Getting up and going to bed at the same time is a great place to start. Regular meal times also help.

People often feel more lonely when they’re bored, so creating a schedule or routine can help you to feel you’re doing more.

Look after yourself

When you’re not going anywhere or seeing anyone, it can be easy to let good habits slide. But self-care is vital to good mental health.

Placeholder

Eat well and stay active. Take pride in your appearance and keep up your personal hygiene.

Do nice things for yourself. These seem like little things, but they can boost your mood and your self-esteem.

Actively fill your time

Filling your time with activities that require you to be present can help the days pass more quickly and fend off feelings of loneliness.

Take up a new hobby, play games, read, cook or even have a spring clean.

Of course, if what you really want to do is binge a whole season on Netflix, that’s fine too!

Practice gratitude and self-kindness

Hard as it seems, there are always positives to be found in any situation. Try to take time each week, or even each day, to think of three things you are grateful for. This can really help to put your negative thoughts into context.

Give yourself a break, too. If you’re having a bad day, it’s understandable. We are living through a pandemic. These are difficult times, so cut yourself some slack.

It’s OK if you’re struggling, if you’re bored of the restrictions. It’s OK if you’re not as productive or active as usual. Millions of people across the world are likely feeling exactly the same way.



Spare a thought for others who are feeling lonely

Whether or not you are feeling lonely, there are certainly others out there who are struggling.

If you have colleagues, neighbours or friends and family that you know are isolating or live alone, make a point of reaching out.

Placeholder

If you have colleagues, neighbours or friends and family that you know are isolating or live alone, make a point of reaching out.



Research has shown that volunteering actually boosts your mental health and helps you to feel more connected to other people.

If you wish to volunteer, the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) has a page dedicated to ways you can offer your time to help during the coronavirus.

Know when to ask for help

The important thing to remember is that everyone experiences loneliness from time to time, and if you are reacting badly to the current situation, that’s absolutely normal.

Placeholder

However, pay attention to your moods and how you’re feeling day to day, and be sure to ask for help if you need it.

If you have felt lonely a lot recently, if your mood is low most days and you don’t feel like you can deal with it on your own, it may be time to speak to a mental health professional.

Loneliness can be a symptom of depression or other mental health issues.

Alternatively, mental health charity Mind has great advice on coping with loneliness and also runs a free helpline on 0300 123 3393.

Want more articles like this? Sign up to our newsletter.

You may also like…

Does ‘staying positive’ prove harder than it sounds? We share advice on coping with negative thoughts and cultivating good ones. Read more

If you are struggling and need emotional support during lockdown, here are 10 free mental health services you can access without leaving home.Read more

In times of uncertainty, feelings of stress and anxiety are completely normal. We share advice on managing stress in difficult times.Read more

There no waiting lists when you pay for yourself. Download our treatment price list
Sign up to Health Matters updates