How to be less lonely during the break

window out to sunrise

The idea of free time is supposed to be fun, right?

Well for some of us, it’s not as simple as that.

Loneliness is one of those feelings that can often creep unannounced into our thoughts, particularly when we’re not as busy as we used to be (i.e., after finishing a semester of study!).

You're not the only lonely one

No one is immune when you consider that almost 1 in 3 Australians report feeling lonely. Young people are the most affected by loneliness, with 22% of 18 – 24-year-olds admitting they often feel lonely.

So, firstly take a deep breath! Feeling lonely at times is perfectly normal, it’s just prolonged loneliness that can cause problems for our mental and physical health. 

During the break if you find your thoughts are spiralling, it’s helpful to first acknowledge how you are feeling. Sometimes just admitting where you are at is the first step to helping shift your thoughts.

5 strategies for overcoming loneliness.

Here are 5 evidence-based tips that you can use to feel less lonely. (Bonus: most of these activities are free!)

Check in — make the time to check in and see people you know. This will help you build closer bonds with others. Recently I asked a friend for a cookie recipe and she asked me over for a baking session–it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but you get the point.

Ask questions — university has helped you become curious, and you can use that skill to get to know someone better by building on small talk with follow-up questions. (Pro tip: Don't just ask someone what they do, ask them why they're passionate about it. What got you into golf / baking / cycling / horror novels / etc? Genuine questions about why people do the things they love can invite more meaningful conversations).

Express yourself — you love learning, right? That’s why you’re at our university. Apply this thinking to learn something new, learn a new instrument; read a book on a new topic; try your hand at writing a poem, short story (hey, just try journalling); or...find out what it's like to dance in the rain!

Treat yourself — why wait for others when you can enjoy yourself on your own time and on your own terms?! So, take yourself out on a date with YOU! Dinner and a movie? Tickets to your favourite concert? A cute Sunday coffee date? Dinner at your favourite restaurant? Ah ... yes, yes, yes, yes! Treat yourself!

Exercise — an oldie, but a goodie! Getting outside or going to the gym gets you around other people, making eye contact and catching smiles.

Maybe a way to live with periods of loneliness is not to push it away, but to learn from our feelings. Gaining this better understanding of who you are and what you need is key to loving yourself through the good and bad times.

And no doubt, by understanding yourself you can more easily connect with others.


Talk to someone. The University of Adelaide has a free counselling service for enrolled students. Find out how to access counselling on the Counselling Support website.

Lifeline — 24/7 for crisis support and suicide prevention services
Phone: 13 1114

Beyond Blue — call for 24/7 advice, referral, and support from a trained mental health professional Phone: 1300 22 4626

Kids Helpline – 24/7 private and confidential phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.
Phone: 1800 55 1800



Lonely young adults in modern Britain: findings from an epidemiological cohort study

What to do if you feel lonely published by Ending Loneliness Together


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