A common definition of loneliness is the feeling we get when our need for rewarding social contact and relationships is not met. But loneliness is not always the same as being alone. Some are very comfortable and content whilst alone and live very happily with limited contact with others, however some would find this a lonely experience.
Equally, you may have lots of social contact with a variety of people, be in a relationship or part of a family, and still feel lonely – especially if you don’t feel heard, understood or cared for by the people you’re surrounded with.
There are ways to manage feelings of loneliness
Take things at your own pace
When you’re feeling lonely, it can feel extremely overwhelming to go out and meet new people, or to reconnect with friends and family. Start with small steps, such as meeting one person for half an hour, or joining an online class and just watching and not contributing for a few sessions whilst your confidence grows.
Try a Befriending Service
Our Befriending Service at Bath Mind offer weekly phone calls to people living in Bath and North East Somerset needing regular telephone contact if they are feeling lonely or isolated, anxious or have low mood. Our team of experienced staff are there to listen and offer advice to promote positive health and wellbeing, signposting to other services and communities, helping the individual to build confidence.
Community groups are a great way to meet new people who share lived experience of mental health problems, and can help you learn new skills. Our Bath Mind groups include photography groups, walking, gardening, cooking or discussing different ways to look after mental wellbeing. Click on the community groups link to find out more!
Take a Social Media Break
Comparing ourselves to others is a very human experience but it can fuel feelings of loneliness. It can help to know that things are not always what they seem from the outside, or on social media.
Om social media, we often only see what other people want to share about their lives, and this can make us feel like we are the only ones feeling lonely. It can help to take some time away from social media to reflect that social media is just a small snapshot of someone’s life – why not try reading, a creative activity or one of our wellbeing activities instead of scrolling and take note of how you feel afterwards.
Try to open up about feelings of loneliness as much as feels comfortable
You may know a lot of people, but you might feel like your social needs aren’t being met, or you don’t feel that you’re being given the care and attention you need. It can help to open up to those around you about these feelings, and if you’re not ready to talk to them, you could try speaking with a counsellor, therapist or a helpline such as Bath Mind’s Breathing Space.
Further Resources on Loneliness:
- Mind’s Information page on loneliness, managing loneliness and resources
- Let’s Talk Loneliness official page, with information and advice surrounding the topic
- Loneliness Awareness Week web page from the Marmalade Trust, which includes a variety of resources and content for anyone needing support
- Young Mind’s young person specific page on loneliness
- Age UK Bath and North East Somerset’s website with their services and support for older people