Tips for coping with loneliness

Feeling lonely? It’s expected – and many people are feeling this way right now.

In 2020, we teamed up with research firm Leger for a study on the social and psychological impacts related to COVID-19 for Canadians. The study found that nearly one-third of those 65 years and older who are living alone and in fair or poor health reported feeling lonely either frequently or every day. The results also suggest that young adults have a more pronounced vulnerability to loneliness.

Fortunately, there are things you can do. Here’s four tips on helping yourself and others.

Reach out to people

A woman wearing a yellow shirt speaks on the phone outsideThis may seem obvious, but it’s common for people to feel like they should struggle alone with loneliness.

You don’t have to wait for others to make contact - try and reach out yourself. Chances are, if you’re missing a friend, they might be missing you too.

It can help to have a think about the people you know and come up with some ideas for how you can connect with them better. 

Expand your circle

Meeting new people can also help with loneliness, although admittedly this may be tougher than normal during the pandemic.

Think of activities or hobbies you enjoy or you’d like to learn. Chances are, there’s an opportunity to join others with the same interests. If you’re not able to take up a new hobby or activity in person right now, you could look into online activities such as a virtual games group, language lessons or even an online book club.

Volunteering with a charitable organisation (including the Red Cross, wink wink!) is an excellent way to expand your circle. The Canadian Red Cross also has virtual volunteer opportunities for those who want to help out from their home right now.

Still unsure how to start? Our friends at the British Red Cross have a helpful resource for creating new connections.

People wearing different color shirts have their hands togetherAsk for help

If you’re struggling with loneliness, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

There are a range of services to assist, and connecting with a health practitioner or a local neighbourhood or community centre is a great place to start.

The Red Cross also has resources to help people with their mental wellbeing, so make sure you check them out too.

You may also benefit from our Friendly Calls Program.

Help others

Finally, make sure you check in on others who may be feeling lonely right now.

Everyone can feel lonely, but major life changes make us more susceptible - such as becoming a parent, a job loss, a bereavement, or moving somewhere new.

A person with language, health or mobility barriers may also be more susceptible, so check on them too.

Let’s keep looking out for one another, keep safe, and keep healthy.

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