Feeling lonely? You’re not alone
Loneliness is something we all feel from time to time, though everyone’s experience is different. Often, it’s the feeling we get when our need for social contact and relationship is not met. However, it’s important to realize that just because you’re alone, doesn’t mean you’re lonely, and just because you’re surrounded by people, doesn’t mean you can’t be lonely.
Where does it come from?
Loneliness can come in many different forms and be triggered by a variety of life events. You may have moved to a new city or started a new job where you don’t know anyone. Maybe you feel different to other people around you, or your personal relationships may be lacking a deep connection. It can also be caused by internal factors such as low self-esteem, which can lead individuals to the belief that they’re unworthy of attention and care from others.
It’s likely many of us have had increased feelings of loneliness this year, due to global lockdowns isolating us from things that bring us the most comfort and happiness. Office laughs with colleagues to get you through the day, coffees with friends, and the warmth of a hug from your grandparents, are all things we’ll never take for granted again now they’ve been taken away from us.
Ways of handling loneliness
If you’re feeling an overwhelming sense of loneliness, you’re probably wondering whether there are ways to overcome, or help ease, the feeling – and there are!
Here are some of our tips:
- Identify why you’re feeling lonely: Start off by trying to recognise the reason why you’re feeling lonely. This can make it easier to identify the necessary changes needed to help ease the feeling.
- Join a community: Whilst it’s difficult to physically join a class or group at the moment due to lockdown restrictions, there are hundreds of online communities. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Reddit are a great way to meet like-minded people who share the same interests and hobbies as you; and when it’s deemed safe to do so, join a local club in your home town. (Ps. you can also join the Feelmo Instagram community on @feelmoapp and engage with our supportive content and other fellow Feelmovers).
- Strengthen existing relationships: You probably have people in your life who you’ve lost contact with or relationships that could be deepened. If so, why not call them and ask if they want to meet up or catch up over FaceTime? Engaging in activities with other people, whether that’s in-person or virtually, helps to boost our mood and improve mental health. And you never know, they might be feeling lonely too!
- Don't compare yourself to others: When scrolling through social media, it's easy to convince ourselves that everyone else is having a better time than we are, or that their lives are much more exciting than ours. It's important to realise that people only share on social media what they want their followers to see. This may make you feel like you're the only one who feels lonely, but the chances are there are so many other people online who feel the same way as you but don't show it online.
- Be kind to yourself: Blaming yourself for feeling lonely won’t help. If you’re thinking things like “I shouldn’t be feeling lonely” or “no one wants to spend time with me” you’re fueling your loneliness and damaging your self-esteem. Instead, when you notice yourself thinking negative thoughts, replace the hurtful self-talk with words of kindness and encouragement. Take time out of your day to enjoy doing the things you love; whether that’s going for a walk in your favorite beauty spot, or watching your favorite TV show on Netflix.
Implementing some of the steps above could help to reduce your feelings of loneliness, and remember you are not alone!
*Writer's note: Starting from the 1st March, I will be taking part in Mind Charity's 27 27 campaign. 27% of students in the last year have reported a mental health problem while studying at university. Mind Charity is fundraising to help provide better mental health services in universities for students, by holding a 27 miles in 27 days challenge - and I'm taking part!
If you'd like to sponsor me in this challenge, click here and it'll take you to my fundraising page. Any donations are more than appreciated and go towards an amazing charity.
Big thank you to Ben Collins for such a brilliant photo!