A-Z tips for loneliness

30/11/2023

When feelings of loneliness set in it can be difficult to know how to become connected with the world. 

We spoke to people living with mental illness, our supporters, and our colleagues to find out how they cope with loneliness and isolation. 

From adopting animals, to signing up to online writing workshops, to attending peer support groups, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. But our A-Z of tips for dealing with loneliness can be a first step. 

Click on the wall of letters below to reveal the 26 tips.

“My favourite part of running the group was helping others through their own mental health struggles. We all became basically a family.” - Ben

P Peer support

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P, Peer support

“I’d constantly be comparing myself negatively to others and feeding into that spiral of low self-worth. I deleted apps which didn’t enhance my self-esteem.” - Molly

Q Quitting social media

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Q, Quitting social media

How can I become more connected? Our factsheets can explain what you can do to be more socially included and who can help you.

F Factsheets

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F, Factsheets

The Ramblers have a directory of over 500 groups across the UK, where you can find some walking partners for a sociable stroll.

W Walking groups

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W, Walking groups

“At the day centre, there is a very social and friendly atmosphere, rather like a coffee shop or a pub. You end up making many friends; a social life outside of the day centre.” - Mark

S Seeking out services

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S, Seeking out services

“I moved to a new town and gradually began to fill my time with a stable routine of work, the gym, running, seeing people and trying new things.” - Eloise

K Keeping to a routine

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K, Keeping to a routine

“I am a part of a men’s mental health football group. The physical exercise is great, but I also love being part of a team that is full of guys with lived experience of mental illness. It is good peer support and helps me feel less alone.” – James

G Groups

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G, Groups

This directory has a list of Befriending Networks across the UK, where you can filter organisations according to characteristics that suit you.

B Befriending networks

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B, Befriending networks

“I find hobbies are a helpful way to manage feelings of loneliness. I listen to music, listen to motivational podcasts or talks, practice the guitar. That way I’m focusing on the activity rather than the fact that I’m alone.” – Ashley

H Hobbies

H, Hobbies

“I’ve rekindled the family unit, reconnected with the friends and social life I’d lost.” - Christopher

R Reconnecting with old friends and family

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R, Reconnecting with old friends and family

“If you’re feeling lonely in your current friendship groups, it might be a good idea to find new people to add to your network. This can be an exciting chance to look for friends who you can trust and be more yourself around.” - Kari

X Examine your support network

X, Examine your support network

“Due to my ongoing struggles, I found Young Minds and supported them through the pandemic. I set up my own page to share quotes and daily reminders for students to see.” - Tayyibah

I Inspire and give back

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I, Inspire and give back

“I went back to Rethink as a volunteer, to help run the art group. I was happy creating art, helping others and keeping my brain distracted.” - Vinnie

V Volunteering

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V, Volunteering

“I have a little group of artists who work with me each week on making their own projects. I play violin in a band sometimes and compose music.” – Alice

C Creativity

C, Creativity

“I try and use some of the things I’ve learned over the years: breathing, nature (birdsong), touching something soft, using my senses to keep me grounded.” - Liz

M Mindfulness

M, Mindfulness

“I was lucky to have Sahaja Yoga as I feel it pulled me back from the brink. Think about going to free local meetings run by the leaders and coordinators or read some of the books written by Sahaja Yogis.” - Andrew

Y Yoga

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Y, Yoga

“I try to combat these feelings by assessing whether or not there is any truth attached to them, by writing them out systematically in a worry diary.” - Lucy

J Journalling

J, Journalling

“I see my CBT experience as a turning point, which turned me from self hating to self loving. I was able to stop being so critical of myself and focus on gratitude and all the positive things I had in life.” - James

U Understanding yourself more

U, Understanding yourself more

“My wife and I have adopted a retired ex-racing greyhound and she has been incredibly helpful, getting me outside and staying active, as well as learning to practice giving and receiving love safely.” - Liam

A Animals

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A, Animals

“When I’ve finished my workouts, I feel so refreshed afterwards, ready and positive for the day ahead. I run a few miles on Wednesdays and go walking with my family members, to get each other out and into the fresh air.” - Wayne

E Exercise

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E, Exercise

“I talked to several other leaders in the sports sector and didn’t hide why I’d been off work. Their response was amazingly supportive and I learnt that I wasn’t the only one suffering out there.” - Ian

T Talking

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T, Talking

“The turning point in my recovery was definitely when I started to learn professionally about all the things I needed to give to myself. I continue my learning in experiential anatomy, somatic therapy, reiki, coaching and a lot more!” - Jazmin

L Learning

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L, Learning

“When I'm feeling lonely, I try to distract myself. Listening to music, or looking at photos and reliving memories can help. It reminds me that despite feeling lonely now, it hasn't always been that way.” - Rose

D Distraction techniques

D, Distraction techniques

“When I feel at my loneliest, I try to do things I enjoy that attract crowds. I wander around a zoo or go to a football match. The collective joy of a crowd makes me feel safe, it reminds me I am a part of something bigger than myself.” - Carl

Z Zoo trip

Z, Zoo trip

“If you feel the world is closing in around you, please give nature a chance. Nature heals.” - Trevor

N Nature

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N, Nature

Class Bento, Arvon, and Future Learn have a range of courses on offer. You might want to find an online book club, attend online art workshops or a yoga class. It might also be useful to check your local council’s website, MeetUp and EventBrite.

O Online courses and classes

O, Online courses and classes

"Join some library groups that have activities like Bridge or movies that are free."

Anonymous Social media

Anonymous, Social media

"While walking my dog, I recently got chatting with an elderly gentleman who comes to the park with dog treats (he doesn’t have a dog). He was chatting to all of the dog owners, I thought it was a really nice way to start conversations!"

Anonymous Social media

Anonymous, Social media

"Go out and have a coffee somewhere to people watch."

Anonymous Social media

Anonymous, Social media

"Have the TV or radio on even if it’s for background noise."

Anonymous Social media

Anonymous, Social media

"Take breaks from social media – it can seem like everyone else has loads of friends!"

Anonymous Social media

Anonymous, Social media
P, Peer support
Q, Quitting social media
F, Factsheets
W, Walking groups
S, Seeking out services
K, Keeping to a routine
G, Groups
B, Befriending networks
H, Hobbies
R, Reconnecting with old friends and family
X, Examine your support network
I, Inspire and give back
V, Volunteering
C, Creativity
M, Mindfulness
Y, Yoga
J, Journalling
U, Understanding yourself more
A, Animals
E, Exercise
T, Talking
L, Learning
D, Distraction techniques
Z, Zoo trip
N, Nature
O, Online courses and classes
Anonymous, Social media
Anonymous, Social media
Anonymous, Social media
Anonymous, Social media
Anonymous, Social media

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