Loneliness is one of the most persistent social problems of the 21st century. Despite living in an interconnected world thanks to technology, people are still more isolated than ever. Busy people such as students and researchers are the most prone to loneliness and isolation. It is easy to get caught up with so many activities studying and researching that you get very little time to socialize. The result is a feeling of social isolation and loneliness that can linger for long.
According to a 2014 survey carried out by the Guardian UK, 46 percent of researchers are lonely at their work. The survey also reported that up to 64% of Ph.D. candidates admit that they feel lonely most of the times. Here are some things you can do to overcome loneliness during your research career.
Change your routine: the most likely culprit for your loneliness is your schedule. Having a monotonous routine can lead to isolation. One smart way to break out of that cycle is to simply change the things you do and how you do them. While having a routine is required to keep up with your study and research work, it is important that you change things once in a while to avoid getting too caught up in your activities.
Visit new places: Unlike depression that sticks to you wherever you go, loneliness is unlikely to follow you to new places. Try going to a different restaurant for lunch once in a while or try taking a new route to work or school.
Take a break and travel: Most researchers rarely get the time to take a breath of fresh air because of their super tight schedule. Why don’t you change that by trying something entirely different? Take a vacation; travel to an exotic location and see the world. Your work will still be waiting for you when you return. You will meet new people and maybe even find love (that’s a long shot, but it’s worth trying isn’t it).
Get online: while social media has its ills, it can also help you get out of your shell. Try signing up on some online communities. If you feel up to it, you can create an online social group and invite other academics to connect with you.
Being alone does not always mean you are lonely. Some people enjoy their privacy so much they’d rather not socialize. However, if your isolation bothers you, you should make moves to change things. You will find that your education and career will progress a lot better when you are happy.