With so many of us experiencing loneliness in lockdown, we spoke with a handful of Marmalade supporters and asked them for their best tips. You might find these ideas useful, but remember that different things work for different people at different times. Only try what you feel comfortable with, and try not to put too much pressure on yourself. If something isn't working for you (or doesn't feel possible just now), you can try something else, or come back to it another time.
Have a tip of your own? We'd love to hear it! Comment below.
Write your future self a letter
“Life in lockdown feels relentlessly bleak sometimes and I feel really down when I can’t even imagine it being over. One thing that’s really helped is taking time to write my future self a letter on a website called futureme.org. You can choose when the letter will be sent back to you - 1 year, 5 years etc. The experience is incredibly cathartic. I like to imagine how life will be different this time next year, and also to reflect on what I’ve learnt about myself during arguably my most challenging year yet.” Megan, Bristol
Work out why
“Being alone and being lonely are two different things - depending on which you are determines how you can deal with it. The way I combat loneliness is by making sure I’m keeping myself busy, but I believe we should strive to know the reason why we might be feeling lonely - once you know that you have the starting point for combating it.” Malcolm, Wokingham
Support others who are feeling lonely
“Reaching out to people experiencing loneliness and isolation has helped me as well as them. Chatting with elderly neighbours over the fence, reaching out to friends on FaceTime and getting involved with Marmalade Trust’s Winter Companion project has helped me to realise the importance of connection. We can’t ‘fix’ anyone else’s loneliness, but being kind can have a powerful effect, and letting them know they're not alone.” Charles, Bristol
Part of a group
"When I’ve struggled with loneliness in the past (pre-lockdown), I joined a local cycling club. We would meet once or twice every week for a ride - it was a great way to meet like minded people, and it gave me something to look forward to during the week. During lockdown though, you can only ride with one person from your bubble so I’ve missed the feeling of being part of a group. So, I joined a daily online church prayer meeting at 08:30. It’s only 30 minutes long but having that daily human interaction and routine has been important for me." Andy, Stratford-Upon-Avon
Start a conversation about loneliness
“Telling someone that you’re lonely is an important step but it’s also how we talk about it. We still use words like ‘admitting’ to and ‘suffering’ from, which can unintentionally add to the belief that something is wrong with us. There is absolutely no shame in feeling lonely and changing the language around loneliness is a positive and liberating step forward.
The more we talk about it, the more we normalise it and we can move towards a society where it can be spoken about openly. When you tell someone that you’re feeling lonely, or someone is telling you, try to discuss it in a neutral and open manner. Remember that loneliness is normal. Loneliness should be accepted and understood more, rather than something that necessarily has to be eradicated." Amy, Bristol
“My commute used to be a 30 minute walk each way, but in lockdown I find it hard to get the motivation to get out and exercise. I’ve been struggling with sleep too - which I think is linked to the fact that I’ve hardly moved my body all day! So, I started taking virtual group exercise classes. The fact that I’ve booked myself into the class gives me the motivation to actually turn up, and the sense of community in the class gives me a real boost too. Plus, my sleep has improved and I’ve been less anxious. If you’re feeling up to it, try a dance class, or something a little calmer like a yoga class.” - Anna, Henley