The Belvedere Journal
Managing Loneliness in a Pandemic
Humans are social creatures, and being in your bedroom staring at a screen all day is not the way we are supposed to live our lives
Whether it's saving up for the latest popular brand of trainers or constantly refreshing and uploading content to your social media page, there are a great deal of pressures on young people to keep to keep up to date with social trends. Often, these pressures come from the barrage of images we see online. After all, we are the first generation who were raised in the era of smartphones and the Internet. As is well documented, this trend has had severe effects on our mental health. We have all read many articles about the issues that face us; from depression and anxiety through to eating disorders and problems with attention. However, recent events have brought a new mental health crisis to the fore: loneliness.
You might think that with our connected society we should never feel as though we are alone in the world. After all, the current pandemic is affecting everyone, and we are all in the same boat. However, humans are social creatures, and being in your bedroom behind a screen all day is not the way we are supposed to live our lives. If these past few months have been tough for you, you should realise that in feeling this way, you are not alone. You do not need a diagnosis to realise you must prioritise your mental health. It is something that all of us must contend with, teenagers and adults alike.
This, to me, is where the sense of community comes in. I truly believe that there is much we can do as a community to help one another. Amongst the saddening news, there are glimpses of the great collective action of our society. For example, Captain Tom Moore's incredible efforts on the eve of his 100th birthday and the generosity of thousands who have poured money into the NHS. People across the globe are connecting in new ways, establishing new connections and exploring their potential, even if this is from inside the home.
There are many ways to stay sane in the midst of a crisis. You could start by picking up a new interest; trying something new will give you a feeling of personal pride and growth. You could invest the time with individuals in your home. Being a teenager can be hard and being stuck in a house with the same people can be frustrating. However, you may never get the opportunity to engage with your family in quite the same way again. If anything, this pandemic should remind us to take care of what we have, as you never know when it may be taken away. Lastly, take the time to acknowledge your self-worth during this time we have away from normality. Your sense of self is extremely important, and whilst there is no FOMO from outside events, you can really focus on the things that make you happy. You will get through this time, and you will emerge with new lessons learned. It is a cliche to say that every cloud has a silver lining, but it really is true.
No one should feel alone especially with the situation we are currently in. Belvedere offers a community built with support and togetherness, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to someone you trust - The Belvedere community always has your best interests at heart. I can’t stress enough that it is OK not to be OK. We are all human and it’s impossible to live a picture-perfect life. I know that scrolling through social media and seeing what seems to be a perfect life overlap on your feed can become exhausting to keep up with, however, keep in mind that social media is not reality. These people too, are bored, isolated and lonely. They are simply people seeking connection, just like you. Try to take something positive from this time, and most importantly of all - stay safe!