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The Challenge of Loneliness and Steps to Reconnect

By 19/06/2024No Comments

Loneliness can be an overwhelming and challenging experience, often impacting mental and physical health. Despite living in a highly connected world, many people find themselves feeling isolated and disconnected. As people move around more and more for work or financial reasons, those community ties and social networks that our parent and grandparents enjoyed, have been slowly eroded.

Loneliness is more than just being alone; it’s the feeling of being unwanted, unneeded, or unimportant to others. This emotional state can lead to a myriad of negative feelings, including depression, anxiety, and a decrease in overall well-being. What might surprise you, is who is at most risk of loneliness. Historically, it tended to be retired people but as our world changes, so do those who are lonely. According to the UK government’s Tackling Loneliness strategy review, loneliness is higher for people who: are 16-24 years old; are female; are single or widowed; live with a limiting mental health condition; are renting.

One of the primary reasons loneliness is so difficult to manage is its cyclical nature. Feelings of loneliness can lead to self-imposed isolation, which in turn can exacerbate the sense of being alone. This cycle can be hard to break, especially if one doesn’t know where to start or feels too overwhelmed to take the first step. However, there are practical steps you can take to forge new connections and break free from the grips of loneliness.

Five Steps to Find New Connections

Engage in Hobbies and Interests

Pursuing activities you love can naturally bring you into contact with like-minded individuals; or just trying activities you’ve never had a go at before! Whether it’s joining a book club, taking a cooking class, or participating in a social sports session, shared interests are a great foundation for building new friendships. If the idea of immediately participating with others is too much, why not try to find activities that connect you but in a more conceptual sense! Activities such as Geocaching connect you to a worldwide community but can be undertaken solo or Citizen Volunteer Online projects such as Zooniverse which allows you to engage with others as much, or as little as you want.

Volunteer Your Time

Volunteering is a powerful way to meet people and make meaningful connections and whilst at first glance, you might think that you’d benefit from being supported by a volunteer (such as befriending), it’s also worth considering if you could be the volunteer! Helping others can provide a sense of purpose and fulfilment, and you’re likely to meet compassionate, community-oriented individuals in the process.

Attend Social Events

Accept invitations to social gatherings, even if you feel apprehensive. Social events, whether they’re small get-togethers or larger community activities, offer opportunities to meet new people in a relaxed setting. If your inbox isn’t full of invitations, there’s so many options through technology you can hook into from the Scarborough Walking Group on Facebook or social groups on meetup.

Utilise Social Media, Online and Telephone Communities

While social media can sometimes contribute to feelings of loneliness, it can also be a tool for connection alongside a whole array of online communities such as Mind’s Side by Side network ( Join online groups or forums related to your interests, and don’t hesitate to engage in conversations and build online friendships. If interactions aren’t positive, don’t be afraid to just leave a group and seek out another! It’s often worth looking in places you wouldn’t expect! Take “Crap you find in charity shops” on Facebook, a whole community build around people actively going out hunting in their local charity shops for the most tasteless objects they can find. Explore fantastic app’s like Bumble that are geared towards helping people find friends. There’s no shame whatsoever in making use of modern technology, it’s often the best way in our modern world to find your “tribe.”

Sadly, we do lack many “in person” services locally but you can also access national schemes such as Re-engage Call Companions who provide a telephone befriending service for people over the age of 75. (

Seek Support Groups

If you’re struggling with specific issues, such as grief or addiction, joining a support group can be immensely beneficial. These groups provide a safe space to share experiences and offer mutual support, fostering deep and empathetic connections with people who, whilst can’t walk in your shoes, at least understand some of the challenges you are facing.

Call to Action: Volunteer and Connect

Taking the first step towards connection can be daunting, but it’s important to remember that small efforts can lead to significant changes. One effective way to combat loneliness while giving back to your community is to volunteer with organisations such as ourselves or fabulous places like local foodbanks, libraries or community centres.

Volunteering not only supports those in need but also provides you with a structured environment to meet new people and form bonds. By contributing your time and effort, you can help create a more connected and compassionate community. Moreover, the act of giving can instil a sense of purpose and belonging, helping to alleviate your own feelings of loneliness. If you are unable to get out and about to volunteer in person, there’s many options to volunteer online with places like Zooniverse ( or over the phone with places like re-engage ( You can also volunteer from home with us such as being a telephone volunteer (we can provide you with a phone to use at home) or help contribute and check entries on our resource directory. If you have a cause that is close to you heart, it’s always worth asking a local charity if they have any roles that fit with what you want to do or feel able to do.

In conclusion, loneliness is a challenging experience, but it is possible to overcome it through intentional actions and community involvement. By engaging in hobbies, volunteering, attending social events, leveraging social media positively, and seeking support groups, you can build meaningful connections. Together, we can foster a more connected society and support each other in overcoming loneliness.

Start today by reaching out to local charities and offering your time – you’ll be making a difference in the lives of others and taking a powerful step towards ending your own loneliness.

We know it won’t necessarily be easy for you, but we’re a big fan of the simple mantra… “change nothing, nothing changes”

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