Published: 23 June 2021
Last week was Loneliness Awareness Week in the UK, a time to reflect on what it means to feel alone, as well as working on ways to bring people closer together.
At the University of Sunderland in London, we pride ourselves on our close community.
But from the start of the COVID-19 lockdown and the move to online teaching the physical distance between us has only increased.
Thankfully, we’re starting to move back to on-campus teaching, but it’s important to reflect on the feelings of isolation and loneliness the pandemic has caused.
Read on for some tips for what you can do if you find yourself feeling lonely.
Connect with people
The first and most important step in fighting back against feelings of loneliness is to remember that we live in a very connected world.
No matter what, you always have someone to reach out to. That could be a family member or friend.
But it might also be a classmate, colleague, lecturer or the University’s Health and Wellbeing team.
One aspect of loneliness that is particularly difficult is the feeling of losing all control. This was especially true during COVID-19 and will likely continue for some time.
But you can push back against this sensation by telling yourself you are in charge of how you feel.
You can do that by taking up healthy habits like walking and running or exploring your own thoughts through meditation or mindfulness.
Another aspect of loneliness is that you tend to start living inside your head a lot.
Which means you think lots but don’t necessarily say express them.
Why not try putting your thoughts and ideas down on paper? This might be through art, writing or even a song.
Once you’ve created something you could share it with others as a way of starting the conversation about how you’re feeling.
You have a community
Regardless of your interests, hobbies and likes, it’s guaranteed that there are a group of people in the world who share them.
For one thing, at the University of Sunderland in London, you have a community within your course of students interested in the exact same things as you.
Finally, a regular feature of people who are going through loneliness is they are negative about themselves.
If you find you do this, remember that you do deserve good things. Which means you need to treat yourself.
Have some chocolate, watch something funny, play a video game, whatever makes you smile, do it and tell yourself that you deserve it.
Loneliness is a particularly cruel emotion because it is rarely based on reality.
The world is more connected now than it has ever been and there are people who want to connect with you.
If you’re going through feelings of loneliness, please do reach out to your University of Sunderland in London Health and Wellbeing team.
You can speak with them confidentially by booking an appointment online.