When you think of someone experiencing loneliness, you’re most likely to imagine someone elderly, isolated from friends and family and with a quiet social life. But this isn’t the case! Anyone can experience loneliness, including students. You might be surrounded by your mates, with a jam-packed social calendar and still feel lonely from time to time. It’s completely normal. We’ve put together some tips to help you (and your mates!) lift each other out of loneliness. If you’re looking for more information about how to help deal with loneliness then check out the Better Health website which is full of great tips to support you.
It’s really important to keep doing the things you enjoy if you’re feeling isolated. We know it’s easier said than done, but putting yourself out there and meeting new people will give you the connection you need. And there’s so many different ways you can do this! Societies aren’t just for Freshers Week, you can join them all year round and are a great way to meet like-minded people and make new friends.
Similarly, volunteering and taking part in a shared activity will also help take your mind off things if you’re feeling low and helps conversations flow. There’s loads of different activities to get involved in, from one-off gardening sessions to regular weekly-drop ins.
Talk about it
If you’re feeling lonely it might be difficult to share this with others. But, talking to friends or family about how you feel can be really powerful and gives your network a chance to support you. Sometimes just saying it helps and getting reassurance that it’s not just you.
If you don’t feel you can talk to someone you know, then make use of the University’s free and confidential options, including face to face counselling and a 24/7 helpline to support you. You can find more info about the uni’s mental health and wellbeing offer here.
Similarly, if you see someone struggling, whether that’s a mate or friend from your course, invite them for a brew, you’ll be amazed at the impact of a good conversation.
Whilst you might feel like getting cosy on your sofa and keeping yourself indoors, getting outside and doing exercise that you enjoy can help you feel connected to your community. Whether that’s going for a walk, run, swim or cycle (or whatever else takes your fancy!) moving your body in a way that feels good will boost your endorphins and make you feel better in the process. In need of inspiration? Check out what’s on offer with UoM Sport.
If you find it difficult to chat to friends over a coffee, then going on a walk together might be the answer. Walking helps conversations flow and feel more natural and there’s less pressure to keep up the chat. You’ll also get some fresh air and exercise whilst you’re at it too!
We hope this article has given you useful tools to help you overcome feelings of loneliness and to change the way you see it as a very normal part of university life.