It’s completely normal to feel a bit isolated when you’re studying or working from home. Many people, both students and adults, face this challenge. But there are practical ways to manage these feelings and stay connected. In this blog, we have some helpful tips for navigating loneliness if you study or work from home.
Hybrid work and study – pros and cons
Since the pandemic, studying and working from home has become an increasingly lucrative option for many. It has increased our options for study and careers, making courses and jobs that were once inaccessible easier to reach. Not all of us can or want to commute each day, and for people with extra responsibilities at home, remote work and study is a blessing.
Unfortunately, it can come with some downsides as well. You might miss being able to communicate and collaborate with your co-workers or fellow students face-to-face and build personal connections. For university students, many feel that being on campus is a huge part of the study experience, and tuning into lectures via Zoom isn’t quite the same.
Staying at home all day can also cause us to feel disconnected and isolated. Research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has shown that people under the age of 24 are reporting higher levels of loneliness now compared to 10 years ago. In turn, loneliness can disrupt our productivity and mental and physical health.
Tips for navigating loneliness
Working or studying remotely doesn’t automatically mean you will be lonely. You might live with family or friends, or have a robust social life outside of work or study. But if you find yourself feeling isolated and need some help, that’s OK – here are some things you can try to combat loneliness when studying or working from home.
Move to a new environment
Working or studying remotely doesn’t necessarily mean you need to work or study from your house. If you want a change of pace, grab your laptop, tablet, or notebook and head down to your favourite cafe, local library, or even find a comfy spot in the park. Being around other people, even if you don’t necessarily interact with them, can help you feel less isolated. And there’s nothing stopping you from striking up a conversation or two either – even if it’s just a quick chat with the barista while you grab a coffee.
Even if you’d rather stay at home, having a designated area for your work or study sessions can make a world of difference. Having a separate space for work or study can help you make a mental disconnection between work and leisure, almost as if you’re back in the office or classroom. Make sure it’s comfortable, well-lit, and clutter-free to maximise productivity.
Stay connected with others
Just because you’re physically alone, you don’t have to be socially isolated. Regularly reach out to friends, family, or colleagues through phone calls, video chats, or messaging. Joining online communities related to your study, work, or for things you’re interested in can also provide a sense of belonging.
Take advantage of any events (both in-person and virtual) happening near you. You might meet new friends who share your interests and passions, or just find something fun to do outside of work or study.
Do things outside of work and study
Dedicating time to activities you enjoy can be a great way to stave off loneliness. Whether it’s reading, coding, painting, gaming, cooking, gardening, or playing a musical instrument, hobbies provide a sense of purpose and fulfilment – plus, they can be a great way to meet new people with similar interests.
Taking care of your physical and mental wellbeing is crucial too, especially when combating loneliness. Make sure to get regular exercise, eat balanced meals, and get enough sleep. You might even like to try engaging in relaxation techniques, like meditation or deep breathing, to ease any stress or tension.
Don’t be afraid to seek support
It’s totally OK to ask for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed by loneliness. The first step is to talk to someone you trust about your feelings – whether it’s a friend, family member, or professional counsellor. In any case, simply sharing your emotions can provide much-needed relief and perspective.
For students, universities often have robust student wellness teams and resources to support you during your studies. If you’re struggling at work, you could get in touch with your boss or manager and let them know how you’re feeling; they might be able to mix up your working environment or find other ways to help.
You’re never really alone
Managing loneliness when studying or working from home is a common challenge, but with the right strategies, you can overcome it. Remember that you’re definitely not the only one feeling this way, and that seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to a happier, more connected work or study experience.