Loneliness - The Facts, Tips, and Resources
Winter semesters hit different; we feel it. Add months of social isolation as the cherry on top and people are no doubt experiencing the effects of loneliness, you’re not the only one, promise! Lots of research has been published showing the effects isolation and loneliness has had on individuals, and (no surprise) there was a huge increase from 2019 statistics to 2020, for both those with and without pre-existing mental health conditions (Hamza et al., 2020).
In 2019, the NCHA (National College Health Assessment) survey was taken by Ambrose students, and the results showed that over half of males felt lonely, and ¾ of the women who took the survey felt lonely…and this was before COVID. Loneliness effects us in such a broad spectrum, and can show itself in individuals in a variety of ways, which is why it is important to recognize significant domains of loneliness:
- A sense that there is a lack of healthy attachments or relationships in your life
- Feeling that no one is available or willing to talk with you when needed
- Feelings of worry being the first person to initiate a chat with someone
- Feelings of disconnect or a lack of belonging within your social group/with your partner
- Feelings of not being valued or appreciated
- Being left out
- Experiencing a break-up/change of routine is hard
- Lack of family support
- Social media
- Work environment isolation or alienation
- Book a wellness advising session (free and you get to chat confidentially with another student who understands). https://ambrose.edu/wellness/peer-wellness-advising
- Book an appointment with a counsellor on campus. (If finances are tight, please go talk with student life and they can figure a plan to accommodate). https://ambrose.edu/counselling
- TAO App https://www.taoconnect.org/app/
- I.M Well https://studentvip.ca/frmPage.aspx?school_page_id=b2735a72-081e-4eae-a29d-0fb9653531e0 (This is really good and FREE to ALL Ambrose Students regardless of whether they have the health and dental plan or not).
Honest Truth: I know it can be frustrating for people to continually push counselling services, but they can honestly provide good coping skills, new techniques and subtle life changes so you feel like you again.
Tips: Things to Try
- Try reaching out to someone (I know this is easier said than done)
- Look into a possible online hobby group that meets to talk about something you’re passionate about
- If making new friends is challenging for various reasons, maybe try deepening a friendship you already have
- Set time aside and schedule YOURSELF. Do something for you that will make you feel better
- Order food to a friend’s house and eat together over video if seeing each other safely is not doable.
- Join a club on campus – we know virtual meets are different, but you can still meet new people, then **maybe** meet up in a safe manner outside the club
- Get a pet, even a fish!
- Throw back to writing someone a hand letter! The anticipation and ‘non-screen’ format can be nice
- Find/join a service of your religious/spiritual beliefs
- Meditation, research has shown to help with positive emotions. Tip: quieting your mind can be hard, don’t get mad at yourself if you can’t do it your first time. Try following a guided mediation and be patient with yourself.
I KNOW THIS POST CAN BE REDUNDANT AT THIS POINT, BUT PLEASE KNOW YOU ARE NOT ALONE, AND NOT ALL THE RESOURCES ARE THE SAME. GOOD SELF CARE IS SO IMPORTANT AT THIS TIME IN ALL DOMAIN (PHYSICAL, MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, SOCIAL AND SPIRITUAL).