If you’re a student and feeling lonely, you are not alone. The Office of National Statistics found that 26% of students say they feel some loneliness at university, compared to 8% of the general public.
Loneliness affects everyone in different ways and responses to it can vary. It’s important to not compare yourself with others; just because someone is surrounded by people, doesn’t mean they are not lonely. Loneliness can hit at any time; however, it can often be connected to moving away from home, a relationship breakup or starting university.
By Elsa Tatam. Published 9 October 2023.
A few things to remember about loneliness are:
- Loneliness is very common and many people feel like this at times.
- Loneliness can be a sign that essential needs are not being met. Reflect on what these needs could be and look to meet these in ways that benefit your wellbeing.
- There is nothing wrong with you if you feel lonely. Loneliness is a normal state and being able to bear loneliness can be a sign of maturation and growth.
- Try not to compare yourself to others. Others will tell us what they feel comfortable with sharing and may be hiding feelings of loneliness.
- Do whatever makes you happy and does not cause you harm. Do not deprive yourself of things you would like to do as that can contribute to feeling low and demotivated.
For some, loneliness can be an overwhelming and unbearable feeling and this can be very difficult to speak about. Try to not wait for other people to visit or speak to you. Take the initiative to strike up a conversation when you can. This can take practice, so don’t worry if it feels uncomfortable or scary at first.
Talking therapy is known for being a useful method to tackle loneliness. Sharing your experience with a friend may result in them opening up to share they feel the same way. You’d be surprised how many people feel the same way as you and talking about it could help someone in a similar position. You can also speak with our Support and Wellbeing Services who are available at every campus.
According to Psychology Today, being alone in nature relieves mental fatigue and restores our attention. Being able to appreciate the tranquillity of nature can reduce stress levels and increase levels of serotonin, boosting your feeling of wellbeing.
Take things offline
Sometimes being online can be a great solution to loneliness but it can also exasperate it further. For example, if you are spending too much time online, comparing yourself and your experiences with others. Remember online profiles are not a true replica of life and not a good benchmark of happiness.
Volunteering and hobbies
Helping out at events or volunteering with a local charity is a brilliant way to build self-esteem and meet new people.
Taking up a hobby like running, drawing, crocheting, or joining a sports team is a great way to tackle loneliness. There are lots of societies available, from football to Harry Potter, there is something for everyone and they are a great way to find people with similar interests to yourself.
Campus Facebook Groups
There is a Facebook group for each of our campuses, these can be a great way to find out about events and connect with other students.
It is important to remember occasional loneliness is normal. But if it continues for long periods, it may be time to reach out for support. You can find lots of useful information online. A good starting point would be our Student Support page, where you will find a number of resources to help with your mental wellbeing. You should also check out our ULaw Wellbeing App, which provides a wide range of ideas and strategies to help you enhance your wellbeing and create healthy habits.