There are many things that you can do both alone and with others that may help to relieve feelings of loneliness and isolation. Young people from the Young Scot Youth Loneliness Panel have shared some of their top ideas.
Finding a group or club
Sports clubs and groups can be a way to stay healthy mentally and physically and have fun with others or alone. BBC Sport has a handy list of clubs based on the activity they are for, you can also find your nearest community sports hub on the sportscotland website. Your local community centre or gym will have activities and services that are available to you.
Local youth groups give you the opportunity to meet young people your own age and they all offer different groups. Youth groups can be run through community centres, schools, churches, and sport centres so you should contact local centres to find out what activities they have for young people in your area.
Most hobbies and interests have groups run both in-person and online where you can meet people who share the same interests as you.
- Games clubs such as Dungeons and Dragons allow you to find other players to start a game with.
- Crafts clubs such as painting or knitting can be a great place to get hints and tips, share creations and ideas and find creative spaces.
- Music groups can combine different interests such as with a band or orchestra where a number of different interests come together, or you can find groups for just a single instrument or you could consider joining a choir.
- A local or online book club will allow readers or those who wish to get into reading a place to get recommendations and discuss what they thought of books with others.
Spending time with others
- Spending time with animals can be a great way to destress and take care of your mental well-being. If you don’t have a pet, don’t worry there are other ways to meet animals. You can try asking a friend or family member if you can spend some time with their pet, pet borrowing services such as Borrow My Doggy can allow you to spend some time with dogs, petting zoos or animal charities that allow you to visit the animals mean you can meet lots of animals and there may even be volunteering opportunities to spend more time with them.
- Making some time to do stuff with relatives can be really rewarding. Choosing something that you all like to do, or something you have never tried can be great fun. You could; watch a favourite film or TV programme, go for a walk, cook or bake together or get creative.
- Arrange to meet up with some friends. You could go for a walk, do an activity together, get active, watch a show or a film.
- Call or message someone to talk and you could try talking to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.
- Spending time with friends doesn’t have to be in person, you could arrange a meet up on Zoom and do a quiz night or virtual escape room, you can also arrange to meet up through online gaming and game together.
Doing something for yourself
- Make some time for self-care
- Try relaxing by listening to music, having a bath, drinking some tea, meditating or whatever works for you.
- Mindfulness activities can be a great way to relax, if you already do a lot of mindfulness techniques maybe try finding a new one.
- Try to unplug from technology and engage in something non-tech.
- Volunteering is great for getting stuck in your community and there are lots of different ways to volunteer so there is something for everyone. Volunteering opportunities are available through the Young Scot website also through other organisations such as Volunteer Scotland and My World of Work.
Keep a handy checklist of things to do...
The Young Scot Youth Loneliness Panel recommend:
- Keeping in contact with friends and family - call or text at least once a week.
- Try to join a group or club which means you have contact with people.
- Trying to keep to a schedule everyday so it can help you feel more together and so you have things to do to keep you busy.
- Try to stay active - even if its just walking as this can have a positive impact on your mental health.
- Plan/think about what you want to do in the future as it can help you keep going and give you something to look forward to
- Watch some tv or films - to keep your mind thinking about other things.
- Have some time each week to do something creative as this can be really good to keep you busy but also distract yourself.
- Find something that brings you comfort so maybe if you do get overwhelmed - lighting candles, cooking comfort food, and reading a new book.
If you're feeling lonely and need support, there are a range of organisations that can support you over the phone, e-mail, text and webchat. Visit our #AyeFeel page to find out more.
Find more information and support on loneliness or feeling alone.