The physical symptoms of loneliness

Many of us experience feelings of loneliness and this has been exacerbated recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic and having to spend more time at home.


The elderly and vulnerable, who often live alone, are much more prone to feeling lonely.

Loneliness can not only impact on us mentally, but physically too. Here are just some of the ways loneliness can show itself within us or an elderly-loved one physically:

High blood pressure

Being lonely can be stressful! The constant worry and feeling of emptiness can cause us to get stressed. This results in higher levels of natural steroids, which can cause high bloody pressure. It has been said that living with loneliness is equivalent to the effect of smoking a packet of cigarettes per day.


Another physical symptom of loneliness is insomnia or disrupted sleep. Another sign can be sleeping too much.

According to research by Sleep, loneliness makes us wake up more times during the night, meaning we aren’t fully rested and feeling ourselves. You can read our blog post on getting a good night’s sleep here.

Loss of confidence

Loneliness can make us withdraw and affect self-esteem and confidence.

Loss of appetite and motivation

A loss of appetite and a loss of motivation to do exercise are common physical signs of loneliness. People who are lonely tend to take less care of themselves and don’t eat well, which has a negative effect on their health.

If you notice any of these signs in an elderly loved-one, it’s important to make sure you talk to them and have them book an appointment with their GP.

It is a particularly lonely time for many people at the moment, so anything you can do to help is great. If you can, pick up the telephone and call a family member or friend.

You can also share our top tips here for helping keep loneliness at bay during the current climate.