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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KCL chapter.

So here we are! The new academic year has well and truly started and as most of you are definitely aware of, it is slightly different than last year. About half a year ago, an until then unknown virus called ‘Corona’ changed everything, including our university experience. As a result, our classes are mostly online, forcing us to stay in our room in front of a laptop. At first glance, we might think what a pain but as time goes on and I am sure many students will agree with me, it takes a serious toll on our mental health! In addition, it makes one specific feeling arise in us, loneliness. That really uncomfortable feeling that creeps up in the moments when we sometimes least expect it, especially if we live alone. That feeling which seems cursed by our society, where so much emphasis is put on being social and above all, happy. I want to share a few tips with you on how to combat loneliness.


1- Go off social media for a bit

This seems obvious, but it works wonders! Social media, particularly Instagram can be extremely detrimental to your mental health, particularly when you feel lonely. Since these platforms are dedicated to showing ourselves in the best light, people willingly only post their highlights, i.e. the moments where they are doing things society deems “interesting.” However, moments when people are doing work, crying or just doing nothing are rarely posted on social media. It is important to go on social media and, for instance, watch Instagram stories with a slightly removed attitude, since we don’t know how the person feels deep down.

However, particularly in moments when we feel alone, I would advise going off social media entirely for a while (or even delete the app if you’re too tempted). That way, you can focus on yourself without feeling like you are missing out or starting to think that you are the only one struggling, whilst everyone is “living their best life.”

social media apps on phone
Photo by dole776 from Unsplash

2- Start enjoying your own company

I know this also sounds incredibly vague and unhelpful, but I promise it’s not as blurry as it sounds. It is unfortunately a reality that we will spend more time alone than we are used to. So why don’t we use this as an opportunity to discover who we truly are and what makes us happy? Take this alone-time as a chance to do things you usually wouldn’t have time to do at university, such as doing ALL of your readings, cooking, baking, reading books, creating a blog, starting a podcast…the list goes on and on! By keeping yourself busy and doing things that fulfil you and perhaps take you further professionally, the feeling of loneliness won’t even have time to arise!

3- Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely

This brings me on to my next point: a lot of people mix up alone and lonely; in my opinion, they are two very different things. One can be alone, but not lonely and vice versa. I believe that, as I mentioned earlier, society conditions us to believe that we must feel lonely every time we are alone, which does not necessarily have to be the case. So who knows, maybe what you thought was loneliness is actually not?

4- Use your time efficiently in order to make time for social contact/make plan

Personally, the moments when I start to feel lonely are the moments when I am procrastinating, lying in my bed doing nothing in the evening or scrolling on social media (as addressed in my first point). However, if you make plans in advance to meet up with friends, attend society’s online-events or other activities, your feeling of loneliness will be drastically reduced, because you will always have something to look forward to. It also means that, in low moments, you will know that what you are feeling is only temporary and will fade!

5- Give yourself the freedom to feel lonely- because it is ok to be feel that way!

This point is probably the most realistic one; I would be lying if I promised that after reading this article, you will definitely leave loneliness behind you. This pandemic we are going through is a crazy, unprecedented time, so it is likely that you will sometimes feel lonely, or worried: and that’s ok! After all, it is in our nature to be social beings and other feelings such as homesickness or stress can also amplify the sensation of loneliness. If you ever feel that way, don’t beat yourself up about it, it will only make it worse. Just remind yourself that you’re not the only one struggling. As bizarre this sounds, sometimes there is nothing better than sitting in the uncomfortableness and then have a good night’s sleep to see things with fresh eyes!

However, if you notice that this feeling of loneliness might hide other deeper negative thoughts and has a considerable negative impact on your mental health, don’t hesitate to speak out and get help. 

You’ve got this!

European Politics student, chocolate-lover and writing enthusiast