6 ways to feel less lonely and stressed
Tips and ideas for young people feeling lonely and stressed
Coronavirus and loneliness
Coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions limit how much we can meet up with other people. For many, the feelings of loneliness that we all get at times have increased.
You might be:
- self-isolating away from familiar faces
- feeling that your life is 'on-hold'
- having to cancel plans you made
- feeling concerned about the future and what might happen.
Coping with change and stress
This can all lead to anxiety and stress. Try these quick tips and tools for coping with loneliness, building confidence and self-esteem, and developing meaningful connections.
If you or someone you know is really struggling, speak to a doctor. Find out more about stress and anxiety on the NHS website.
Be kind to yourself
Loneliness can affect self-esteem, and even make us feel not worth knowing. That's not true - we all deserve friendship and kindness. First, be kind to yourself. Think of one thing you like about yourself.
Even if you don't feel lonely, friends of yours might, but may be too nervous to say. Try starting conversations in your friendship group where each shares what they really like about the others. Save what's said somewhere, so that everyone can remind themselves when they need a boost.
Breathing with colour
Sometimes things can feel too much and we need to clear our minds to de-stress. Try the breathing with colour exercise, or other mindfulness breathing exercises.
- Picture a colour you associate with happy, positive thoughts.
- Now picture another for not so positive thoughts.
- Take a slow breath in and picture breathing in the positive colour. Imagine the breath is reaching your fingers and toes.
- Take a slow breath out and imagine you're breathing out the negative colour. Blow it far away from you.
- Repeat this exercise a few times. Does it help? How do you feel now?
Understanding and making ‘meaningful connections’
Meaningful connection with others is the best way to reduce loneliness. Not just a conversation about the weather, talking and connecting to someone deeply. What do you need from a connection to make it meaningful? Is there anyone you can connect with like this?
Watch this video exploring how young people connect with friends and family. Notice how it helps them cope with loneliness. What are your ways of dealing with feelings of loneliness, in yourself and others?
Start a conversation about loneliness
This can be really difficult, but our research shows talking about it can help a lot. Try starting a conversation with someone you trust about loneliness in general. You don't need to talk about your own experiences straightaway, or at all. Maybe ask each other what loneliness means and how you each would describe it. How do you feel?
Help others who might be lonely
Reaching out to people who may be isolated helps you as well as them. Do you have a friend or neighbour who might be lonely? How could you connect with them to find out how the are? You cannot 'fix' anyone else's loneliness, but being kind can have a strong effect.
If you believe somebody needs more help, tell them about our free coronavirus support line: 0808 196 3651. It's open 10am to 6pm daily.
Develop your ways of coping
Having a range of techniques and ways of dealing with challenges is important. Everyone has different things that help them cope, but the exercises on these pages might help you with worry, stress and anxiety:
Coronavirus support line
Our free coronavirus support line is run by experienced Red Cross volunteers who want to help people feeling lonely because of social isolation and lockdown. Call 0808 196 3651, 10am to 6pm every day.
We’ve also listed and linked to other organisations that help you cope with loneliness.