Loneliness can sadly be quite common among students, especially during a covid-19 lockdown. It is helpful to know that you are not the only one, and it is not abnormal to experience these feelings. However, it is not something you want to feel for a long time. The winter times often make these feelings worse, with darker days along with a reduced amount of possibility due to the lockdown.
Luckily there are quite a few things you could try that could make your loneliness fade, we will give you some of those tips. Note, however, that if you experience depression, anxiety and/or feel suicidal, you should always contact professional help. On the Storm site you can find a scheme with people you can contact and you can also approach the confidants of Storm.
If this is not the case, these things might help:
1. Exercise! It is very important for your mental health to exercise. There are many good hormones that are produced by exercising, along with the fact that it keeps your body healthy and clears your mind. You could join a sports club, subscribe to a nearby gym or just go for a run. Make sure to find a way that works for you! Here is the link to the sports center of the University that offers many different courses every week: https://www.olympos.nl/en-us/home.aspx
2. Go outside! It is proven to be very good for your mental health to be outside and be surrounded by nature. You could take a walk or combine it with exercise. On https://www.komoot.com/ you can find many different hiking and cycling routes in your area or in the Netherlands in general.
3. Don't completely isolate yourself. Even though there is a lockdown, that does not mean you have to shut yourself off completely. You can find creative ways to meet others safely, for example by going for a walk with someone, exercise with someone, or by only seeing a few at a time. If you have a big friend group you could schedule a video call, and if you feel like you don't have anyone to hang out with, still try to reach out to people, many others might feel the same. You can of course also join Storm activities ;)
4. Try a (new) hobby like reading, writing, drawing, watching movies or learning an instrument. This is a good way to spend your time that can reduce loneliness, even if it's only temporary. Make sure to do something you enjoy!
5. Call a friend or talk to someone. Friends might live far away or be busy often but that does not have to mean they cannot be there for you; even if it’s just for a few minutes. Reach out to others, how hard it might be, you'll probably find someone willing to help you or willing to talk with you about it. If you feel like there is no one you can talk to, perhaps check out the list of contacts at the bottom. Maybe you can talk to the Storm confidant or someone else.
6. Try not to spend too much time on social media. Social media, however useful, often increases feelings of loneliness. You should try to refrain from comparing yourself to others, and this starts by staying away from social media as much as you can. For example you can put time limits on your phone for how much time you can spend on those apps per day.
7. Focus on the things you can do, instead of the things you cannot! There are still a lot of ways to get in contact with others and find creative things to do. You will find that you might think of very fun, original activities because of the reduced possibilities.
8. Listen to music that makes you feel better. Create or find a nice playlist for yourself that can improve your mood if you feel lonely. Ask your friends what they are listening to at the moment for some inspiration or listen to artists that you do not know yet to switch it up. These are some of our recommendations for happy music:
- Energy Booster Indie: http:// https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX8hY56Fq3fM0?si=5f50093cee4046e9
- Feel Good Dinner: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DXbm6HfkbMtFZ?si=3299615c31c14a76
- Happy Tunes: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX9u7XXOp0l5L?si=7867e6d794bb4761
If you would like to talk to someone about how you are feeling and/or need help, check out the 'contacts for help' subtab on the Storm website or contact one of the confidants of Storm.