If life is in danger
call 000

Loneliness and isolation

Everyone feels lonely from time to time, but long periods of loneliness or social isolation can have a negative impact on your physical and emotional health and wellbeing.

What is loneliness and isolation?

Loneliness is a feeling of sadness or distress because of a mismatch between the amount of social connection a person wants and the amount they have. It is also possible to feel lonely even when surrounded by people. One can experience loneliness at work, with friends or in a relationship. Feelings of loneliness can also come as a result of experiencing mental ill health.

Isolation is the physical separation from other people. Sometimes this occurs through decisions we make ourselves, or because of life circumstance and events e.g. loss of a loved one, doing a job that requires travel or relocation, retirement or cultural and language barriers.

There are some common signs which indicate that loneliness and isolation are affecting us in a negative way:

  • Tiredness, low energy and/or lack of motivation
  • Low mood – feeling sad, worthless or hopeless
  • Physical reactions such as headaches, muscle tension, upset stomach, or worsening medical conditions
  • Sleep problems – difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or sleeping too much
  • Change in appetite, sudden weight loss or gain
  • Increased alcohol consumption, smoking or use of medications/drugs
  • Thoughts of suicide.
  • Consider joining a club, organisation or online community e.g. volunteer at a local charity, join a walking club, join an online community for movie buffs. This will help you to create and maintain meaningful friendships.
  • Set a daily routine - make sure to include meaningful tasks, enjoyable activities and creative endeavours.
  • Stay active - exercise releases ‘happy’ hormones which increase feelings of wellbeing.
  • Spend time outdoors - spending time in nature can have a positive impact on your mental health.
  • Learn something new or try a new hobby.
  • Consider adopting a pet.

Help is available. Below are some places to go for information and support. If life is in danger, please call 000.

 

For Crisis Support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 (available 24/7), chat online at lifeline.org.au (12pm – 6am AEDT) or text 0477 13 11 14 (12pm - 6am AEDT).