Monday 9 May to Sunday 15 May marks Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is ‘loneliness’. The Editorial Team have come together to share their thoughts and experiences on feelings of loneliness as a student.
When moving to university, it is easy to feel lonely as you move away from your friends and family and start a new life in a new city. Living independently can cause some to isolate themselves, but it is important to remember that you’re not alone. It is very normal as a student to feel lonely sometimes, and what I like to do in this situation is to reach out to friends and family and to remember that support is always there for you.
There is nothing worse than feeling completely isolated and alone, and you can feel your thoughts spiralling and you begin to catastrophise everything. I have found getting out and going on walks along the seaside or in nature refocuses my perspective on life.
During my last year at University, I was living in a studio flat alone. Without my family in the country and friends moving back home during the lockdown, I felt extremely isolated. Knowing this situation my closest friend organised to sync Netflix and watch our favourite series together or we would meet for a walk every Saturday. We could catch up regularly giving me something to look forward to and helping reduce loneliness.
Have you ever felt empty and lonely after a party with your mates or a busy exam period? We may not realise how we’re feeling when we are busy or with somebody because we are used to relying on the people around us and our busy life. You may be lonely but you do not notice. Let’s just pause and give some time for ourselves!
Feeding on nostalgia is my go-to when I’m feeling lonely. I think we all have a ‘comfort show’ or two that never fail to make us feel better. Whether that’s laughing at a cheesy rom-com (I love to hate them) or curling up watching a Ghibli film, escaping into another world for a while can be a welcome distraction.
Firstly, it’s very important to know the distinction between feeling lonely and being alone. You could be surrounded by a room full of people and still feel lonely, and you could be alone in your room but not feel lonely. Nevertheless, I would strongly suggest that you should make an hour a day at the least to just step out of your dorm room. Whether it’s to exercise or run errands like grocery shopping or meeting some friends. Don’t make the mistake of isolating yourself in your room every day because eventually, you will start to feel quite lonely.
Social media can make loneliness feel so much worse because it looks like everyone has an amazing, social life with loads of friends, but remember that it’s not real life and not many people need constant social interaction anyway! Your best friends are probably right under your nose. Don’t feel embarrassed for needing to reach out to them. Loneliness is increasingly common and it isn’t a reflection on you as a person.