Let's beat loneliness together

Loneliness can affect anyone at any point in their lives and can have an impact on our health, wellbeing, productivity and self-esteem. In a recent survey 35% of Staffordshire residents reported that loneliness and isolation was a concern to them and 80% were worried about not seeing family and friends – due to the impact of Coronavirus.

What is loneliness?

Feelings of loneliness are personal so everyone’s experience of loneliness will be different. Loneliness is an emotionalstate of feeling separate and disconnected from others. It’s important to understand that loneliness is not always the same as being alone or isolated. Loneliness may be triggered by a change in circumstances or significant life event.  

What impact does loneliness have?

Loneliness can have a huge impact on our physical and mental health. Those who are lonely may have feelings of sadness or low mood as well as low self-esteem. People experiencing loneliness may feel embarrassed to admit that they are feeling lonely.  

In terms of physical health, it’s thought that loneliness can increase the likelihood of heart and lung related illnesses, fatigue and pain. 

Beating loneliness

If you or someone you know is feeling lonely, there are some small steps you can take to help beat loneliness. Here are some practical tips: 

  • Just acknowledging that fact to your friends, family, GP or health professional can start to take the weight off the feeling. This could be face-to-face, a call, text, email or letter – however you feel most comfortable communicating.  
  • Create a community WhatsApp or Facebook group with your neighbours. You could drop some flyers through their letter boxes with information on how to join the group. Use the group to chat, make new friends, help out your neighbours in need and share interests.
  • Try connecting with someone you haven’t spoken to for a while or someone you’ve lost touch with. A phone call, FaceTime or letter can really help to bright your day. It might then become a more regular catch up and something to look forward to.
  • There are lots of positive online communities, where you can make new friends, get inspired and chat about things you care about. You could try searching for groups involved in causes, music, games, hobbies or TV shows you are passionate about.
  • Becoming a volunteer can provide so many opportunities – you’ll learn new skills, meet new people, build your confidence and self-esteem and ultimately be helping those in need. Search for opportunities on the Do It Staffordshire website
  • Online courses can be a great way to meet people, learn new skills and develop interests - all in the comfort of your own home. Staffordshire Community Learning offers a wide range of courses to suit everyone - from arts and crafts, languages and creative writing to belly dancing and computing. To browse what's on offer visit the Staffordshire Community Learning page on Staffordshire Connects
  • Since the start of the pandemic we’ve seen a huge increase in free online events – from cook along lives, exercise cases, book clubs, virtual tours of landmarks and quizzes. These sessions can help you chat to likeminded others and connect based on your shared interests.
  • Keeping active is a great way to boost your mood and gives you a regular activity to look forward to. Take a look at the Together Active for information on clubs and classes near to you for when restrictions are lifted. Or Active My Way offers a range of online sessions suitable for all ages and abilities. 
  • Your local town or parish council will have information on community projects and events that you can get involved with such as litter picking, gardening, shopping for others and helping at events.

Helping others

It can be difficult for people to admit or recognise that they are feeling lonely and even harder for them to ask for help. If you know someone who you think may be experiencing loneliness there are some small steps you can take to help you recognise the issue and support them to feel better.  

  • Recognising loneliness
    • Has there been a change in their routine? i.e. getting up a lot later or struggling to sleep.
    • Do they avoid social situations or decline offers to get together or talk? 
    • Are they more unproductive than usual or have less motivation? 
    • Do they put themselves down or get stuck on the negatives? 
    • Have they neglected their health and personal hygiene?  
    • Has there been a change in their eating habits? 
  • Supporting someone who is experiencing loneliness 
    • By just being there and offering your time to talk can be a relief to someone experiencing loneliness. They will know that there is someone there to talk to when they are ready. You can check in on them with a regular text or call too.  
    • You can offer some practical advice on how they can start to connect with others again or find like-minded individuals to build relationships with. Take a look at the section above on beating loneliness for some ideas. 
    • Volunteering can be a great way to work with and support people who are experiencing loneliness. Search for opportunities in your area on the Do It Staffordshire website.   

Organisations in your local area

Across Staffordshire there are many organisations that offer services to help you to deal with loneliness from telephone befriending, interest and hobby groups, online social events, online courses and much more. You can visit the Staffordshire Connects website to search for an organisation that’s right for you.  

View organisations we've handpicked for you

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