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 about being by yourself or feeling disconnected from the world around you. It may be felt more over a long period of time. It is also possible to feel lonely, even when surrounded by people. Loneliness can also come as a result of experiencing mental ill health.

Isolation is being separated from other people and your environment. 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 or language barriers.

Below are some of the most common signs that loneliness and isolation are having a negative impact on your mental and physical health:

  • Tiredness, low energy and/or lack of motivation
  • Body aches muscle tension and pains, headaches, stomach illness or worsening medical conditions
  • Sleep problems – difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or sleeping too much
  • Loss of appetite, sudden weight loss or gain
  • Increased alcohol consumption, smoking or use of medications/drugs
  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Thoughts of suicide

Loneliness can impact us physically and psychologically. Connecting with others and your community can be helpful in managing feelings and impacts of loneliness and isolation. Other ways of managing isolation and loneliness is to set a routine, including doing meaningful tasks, enjoyable activities, creative endeavours, staying active and practicing self-compassion. 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 (24/7) or via text (12pm-midnight AEST) on 0477 13 11 14