Loneliness and Isolation: What You Can Do About It
Over a year ago, I moved out of the city I grew up in.
I wanted a change and a healthier environment for myself. At the time I was buzzing but as the months rolled on, I began to feel very lonely and isolated. My main friendship groups were still in London and seeing them on Snapchat and Instagram together deepened my emotions of loneliness and sadness. It was beginning to impact my life and the way I viewed myself, even my spending habits as I would spend cash either to travel or see people. Or, I would do some 'retail therapy'.
Some things that cause feelings of loneliness:
● Moving away from loved ones
● Going through a loss
● Exclusion from activities
● Being a carer, a single parent or other responsibilities
It is important to note that feelings of loneliness don't just derive from physical aspects.
They can be caused by:
● Feeling trapped in your thoughts and alone with your emotions
● Social anxiety
● Mental health reasons such as isolating yourself due to being depressed
Loneliness and isolation can have a serious impact on mental health. In fact, studies have shown that loneliness and social isolation are two of the biggest predictors of mental illness. For many people, these feelings can be difficult to deal with and can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Here are some ways you can combat feelings of loneliness and isolation:
- Join a club or group that aligns with your interests. There are online groups where you can join discussions. There are websites and apps to find friends and local events and groups. When you're around people who share your interests, it'll be easier to feel connected and less alone.
- Talk to your friends and family about how you're feeling. It can be really helpful to have someone to talk to, and chances are they may already be aware of how you've been feeling. We live in a digital age where there are so many platforms to link up virtually.
- Reach out to mental health professionals if the feelings of loneliness and isolation are proving too difficult for you to manage on your own. They can provide support and guidance on how best to deal with these emotions.
- Practice self-care often by doing things that make you happy. This could include taking a walk outside, listening to music or meditating on mindfulness apps. I love planning little dates and trips with myself as it gives me something to look forward to.
If you struggle to reach out and socialise, explore the reasons why.
- Challenge those thoughts and take them step by step. As humans, we are not made to be islands. This is why feelings of loneliness can be detrimental. Please if you're feeling lonely, try out one of the tips above and remember to be honest with yourself and reach out for help and company.
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Blog post written by Tanesha