How to combat loneliness during COVID-19

Lockdown 2.0 is here, and it is only normal to feel a little down from time to time. If you are living away from home, going to uni during lockdown can be that little bit more difficult. 18-24 year olds are feeling more lonely than ever before, so here are a few tips that we have come up with to help combat loneliness during COVID-19.

1. Make a schedule

Winter days can seem long and dreary, but the time can slip away fast. By creating a schedule for yourself, it can help create a sense of normalcy (and stop you from binging Netflix all day!). You can make timeslots for your different daily activities to keep yourself busy. Having consistency to your days can also help you maintain a regular sleep pattern too, so you have more energy for the next day.

2. Join a society

Societies at uni have had to adapt quickly, only being able to take place online, but they are still going. Whether it is sports you are looking for, something musical or something artsier, universities have loads of societies to choose from. Whilst it is a bit of a bummer that you cannot meet in person at the moment, societies usually have Facebook groups where you could reach out and get to know people better for when you have socials face to face again. By joining up, you already know that you’re interacting with people that you have something in common with, and it is a great way to make new friends at uni.

3. Be active

It is important to look after your body as well as your mind during the pandemic. Exercise does not only improve fitness; it also improves mental wellbeing because feel-good hormones are released when you exercise. You could get your housemates involved for a joint workout sesh to combat loneliness (nothing like a bit of group yoga after a seminar on teams to unwind). Even something as simple as a short walk can boost your mood, and it is a great way to explore the local area. Fresh air really does do the body wonders.

4. Be social

If you are living in halls or a student house, you are spending way more time together this term than you anticipated, so why not make it a good time? You could try cooking together, starting a series together (would defo recommend The Crown) or it could be something as simple as having a cuppa, a biscuit and a good old chat. We are all in the same boat, so it is important to look out for thy neighbour (literally). It is never too late to start bonding.

Remember to embrace new ways of socialising too. You can connect with people that live outside of your household/bubble by doing online activities (I mean are you even living in 2020 if you haven’t played Among Us yet?) or there is a variety of online quizzes to choose from so your general knowledge will be top-notch by the time we exit lockdown.

5. Reach Out

Inevitably there will be good days and bad days, but it is important to reach out and talk about you feel or get that extra bit of help if/when you need it. Video calling friends or family back home can be a real pick me up. If it is something you feel is more serious, make sure you contact the well-being team at your university, your GP or external services such as the Samaritans. Having a good support circle of people you trust will make you feel less lonely. There will always be someone there to listen.

6. And remember… BE KIND TO YOURSELF!

Whilst there are some great tips here about how to combat loneliness (if I do say so myself) please know you are doing just fine! At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way on how to cope with a pandemic after all. But sometimes it is worth stopping for a moment, taking a breath and telling yourself that you have got this!

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