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Mental Health Awareness - Loneliness

By SashaRLA 11 Jun 2022

Here are some creative and accessible ways to cope with loneliness ! 

DISCLAIMER: What I am sharing here is my own personal opinion of what may help those that belong to the student community. If you would like to find out more on this topic, Student Life have a range of resources available to you on this topic. These are evidence-based resources that include tips from practitioners with students in mind. Find more information here.

Often times people dealing with loneliness are told to just ' go find other people'. This may not be a very useful answer for many reasons e.g. 

  • You may feel that you can't relate or connect with any of the people you meet 

  • You may find that the people you are around are not your type of people 

  • You may find the people you are around to be toxic, negative, mean or judgmental  

  • you may find that situations which may allow you to meet people with similar interests to you are inaccessible; for example, you may want to join a society but it may not align with your financial budget, you may want to participate in volunteering but lack the free time or do not meet some required criteria, you may want to start a society or organise something but lack the support to do so etc.  

There are a plethora of barriers which may devalue advice typically given to people experiencing loneliness. Such situations may make you feel trapped and helpless! 

Here are some alternative ways to combat loneliness which do not require any tools such as the ones listed above:

Physical activity 

As cliché as it sounds, we are told time and time again that movement is good for us. Compare a day where you laid in bed and didn't move to a day where you ran errands including walking to the shops, cleaning or showering. You most certainly notice a difference in mood. This is because humans need movement. It gets our blood flowing and makes us feel alive. You can choose to do a hardcore HIIT workout and aim for a runners high or you could do something as simple as a few stretches or 5 minutes of jogging on the spot. Standard recommendations for exercise advise half an hour of moderate physical activity most days of the week, however, you can work up to this at your own pace. Exercise is a way to immediately boost endorphins and achieve a dopaminergic release which is useful when dealing with low mood that is typically associated with feelings of loneliness. 

Get some natural light! 

Studies have shown that hospital patients got better quicker when their bed was next to a window. Natural light has an extraordinary impact on mental wellbeing so, in terms of dealing with the psychological impact of loneliness, be sure to go outside everyday or at least open your curtains and windows to cultivate a better state of mind and breath in some fresh air. Don't shut yourself out in the 4 walls of your university accommodation only exposing yourself to artificial light. Your eyes, body and mind will appreciate you for it! 

Be in the vicinity of other humans 

You don't even have to know them! Something as simple as going to the park and saying good morning to dog walkers or a simple exchange with your coffee barista, are all things which can satisfy the need for human interaction. Additionally, these things can remind you of the bigger picture which is that we are all people participating in this journey called life and going about it in different ways! 

Talk to a charity 

If you feel you need someone to vent to, organisations exist that provide a listening ear to anyone who needs it. You have the option of speaking to a diverse range of volunteers about whatever is on your mind and can remain completely anonymous. 

Such organisations include:

(02920 870555) 

24 hr service 

(116 123) 

To delve further into tackling the root of cause of loneliness, explore some of the options below. 

Accept your feelings 

Perhaps you have been in contact with one of the above services and during that process, you may have identified what your feelings were. The next step may be acceptance. Many people will avoid solitude at all costs. They may scramble to maintain connections with people who only do them a disservice, to avoid being alone. Failing to sever ties which such people only leads to further feelings of isolation,  regret and may compromise your self esteem! Accepting your feelings will give you the tenacity to think logically and do what is really best for you! 

See the beauty in solitude 

Without devaluing the importance of human interaction, it's necessary to understand the value of solitude. Enjoying your own company can be a liberating experience. Not only can it lead you to many discoveries about yourself but it can also really help you focus on your growth and goals but only if it's harnessed and embraced. Give this a try. Trust the process and see where it takes you.  

Follow the link for more insight into this idea:

Let Residence Life Know 

Perhaps you want some advice face to face as opposed to reading an article! 

The purpose of our team is to make sure you get the best possible experience of living in university accommodation. We come jam packed with solutions and events to offer which can brighten your day! It's worth a try! Find out when the next residence life event is happening and come talk to us. We are an approachable bunch and enjoy making a positive difference to your lives! 

To conclude, if you're struggling with feelings of isolation, you are not alone. The university provides various provisions for students going through a difficult time. Never suffer in silence. 

If you would like to find out more information on looking after your own wellbeing then make sure to visit the Student Intranet to find a wealth of resources to help you manage your emotional, mental and physical health. If you’re not sure where to start, email and they can refer you to the service that is right for you. 


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