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A Guide to Dealing with the Loneliness of Starting at a New School
The sudden jump back into a new school year can be disorienting, especially if it’s your first year at a brand-new school. It’s extremely common for new students to start feeling lonely or excluded, especially university students who are often left to fend for themselves for the very first time. Students tend to isolate themselves if they don’t have any friends or acquaintances at school, and recent studies have shown that this isolation is the reason behind most school dropouts. Of course, loneliness is a very common and normal feeling; however, when loneliness turns into total isolation, it takes a huge toll on your mental health, often leading to depression. That’s why it’s important to learn some ways to meet new people and combat the feeling of loneliness.
[Learn to be a happier you the natural way with these 7 tips! They will have you feeling more focused, energized and relaxed so you’ll be ready and excited to meet new people.]
Tip: Expand your network
If you’re unsure of where to meet people with similar interests as you, this is the perfect place to start. Students create clubs and societies to spend time with a group of people who are passionate about the same subject or activity. That’s why joining a club is great way to meet a number of individuals who have something in common with you, as it’s an easy conversation starter and a fun way to spend your free time. If you’re feeling lonely or excluded, take a step out of your comfort zone and look at the clubs your school offers, and don’t be afraid to join the ones you’re interested in.
Tip: Stay connected
It’s possible that you’re a long way from home and don’t have any friends where you are, but a great way to combat loneliness is to make time for the relationships you already have. This could mean friends outside of school, or family members. Spend some time talking on the phone, Facetiming, or hanging out with the people who make you feel loved and important. If you don’t have someone you know that you feel comfortable talking to, school counsellors are always happy to talk with students about anything they’re struggling with, or just to chat about how the day is going. Most schools also offer support groups and mental health programs for individuals who need someone to talk to, which is a great way to meet new people in a judgement-free environment. Do some research on the services that your school offers, and be sure to optimize on the services that you feel will help you.
Tip: Make time for YOU
Because loneliness takes a toll on your mental health, it’s important to spend some time putting yourself first. Try doing something that you enjoy, like watching a movie, reading a book, or exercising. Making sure that you’re mentally healthy will help you feel confident and prepared when meeting new people, ensuring that you start off on the right foot while making new friends.
Tip: Step out of your comfort zone
We know that it’s not easy to take the first step and meet new people, but stepping out of your comfort zone ultimately helps you with embracing change, transitioning, and growing as an individual. This can be done in a number of ways, like asking a nice classmate to get together for a study date, or starting a conversation with someone who’s sitting alone at lunch or in class. There’s always someone else who’s feeling lonely and excluded as well, and it’s important to realize that you’re not alone. Take a step out of your comfort zone and seize any opportunity that will help you make a new friend; you’ll be thankful that you did.
Tip: Get outside
Not only does going outside and getting some physical activity help your mind and body stay in shape, but a study by Harvard Health shows that natural light increases your happiness, focus, and the increase of vitamin D helps fight off depression and cancer. Spending some time outside brings a change of scenery and offers a great way to meet new people and interact. Even though loneliness makes you want to stay inside and isolate yourself, it’s so important to push yourself to get outside and get active. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
Being lonely is extremely common, and everyone experiences it. Starting at a new school can take a toll on your mental health, so it’s extremely important to talk to someone if you feel like your loneliness is leading towards depression. It could be a friend, family member, or a professional; whoever you feel most comfortable talking to. If you’re struggling but you don’t have someone you feel comfortable talking to, the Distress Centre has free online support and crisis lines. To use these resources, click here. It’s scary to make yourself vulnerable, but putting yourself out there will help you meet new people and develop close friendships, fighting off the loneliness that often comes with starting at a new school.
Feeling stressed, lonely, and pressured to perform well? Take a look at our blog discussing how to deal with performance pressure by clicking here. Want to learn how VictoryLab can help your business or organization? Click here.