Loneliness – You are never alone

The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week this year is loneliness. Here's are one student's tips to help you feel less lonely if you're struggling.

Loneliness is not really a term that is usually associated with a mental health issue. I always believed that it was a term to describe someone who is physically alone or isolated not someone who feels alone or isolated. It is now under the umbrella of depression and can lead to other mental health issues.

If you struggle with loneliness and can’t see a way out, it can be debilitating and painful. There is no clear end in sight and no simple quick fix to help. You may even think that you are the only one who is sad and everyone else is happy, but if we are honest with each other, no one on earth is one hundred percent happy.

Here is some advice that should help:

Find likeminded people

This may sound hard, but there is someone else who feels similarly or the same as you and by finding each other, two people can be saved. I suggest using Bumble which is not just a dating app but has a friend service. You can set up a profile, much like for dating, but it instead helps you to find like-minded people in your local area. You may never know how many people in and around your area you can connect with!

If you push yourself out of your comfort zones, you can find new hobbies and or create new memories. Plus, you may meet like-minded people and make new friends.

OU forums

Feeling lonely while distance learning is a tough cookie to swallow, but finding and connecting with other students either in your area or in the same degree path can really help to create a meaningful connection. It can help you to feel like you are at university making friends and having a laugh, even if it's through the medium of the forums.

Adopt a pet

Having a little furry friend that can curl up on your lap or snuggle on your legs while you study can increase your happiness, and therefore lower your feelings of loneliness as having a pet can help you to get out of the house by walking them on long walks where you can greet and socialise with other pet owners. Even get you out of the house and go to the supermarket to pick up their food or the occasional toy to occupy them while you study.. as you wouldn’t want them to annoy you while you study 😉

Advise yourself

Why not ask yourself what advice you would offer a friend if they came to you asking for advice on feeling lonely. Even if this is just a thought experiment, it may make you consider how you can help yourself. You may just surprise yourself.

Smile and the world smiles with you

Even if you are just walking down the high street or just taking the bin out to the end of your path and see a neighbour doing the same or just walking down the street, just smile at them and make eye contact. This simple act can make them happy and can make you feel better and not that alone, as you still have the power to make someone else happy, but you never know, it may become infectious and make you happy too!

Everyone, no matter where they are in their lives, may feel lonely. We are all here for each other. As if we aren’t here to help each other, who will?

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