How to combat loneliness during weekends

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Winter weekends in Brookings make it feel more like a ghost town than a college town with nothing much to do or see. If I can relate to anything with my heart and soul it is being lonely and sitting in my dorm all weekend.

Life is an experience and you have to live to learn. This semester, I have definitely learned how to make the most out of my weekends stuck on campus. So, here are a few self-approved tips on how to cure the weekend woes.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone
Isolation is such a normal thing nowadays that it makes lots of people uncomfortable to get out and do things on their own. But, there is nothing like doing something that pushes you out of your comfort zone.

Go out and find a quiet study spot, get coffee on your own or take advantage of the amenities Brookings and South Dakota State University has to offer. Check out GoJacks.com or the Weekend Stuff Facebook page and try something new. Sometimes you just have to embrace things that make you uncomfortable because it’s the only way to grow as a person.

As Neale Donald Walsch once said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

Communicate and make small plans
I was pretty shocked to find out that a lot of my friends on campus felt the same way I do on the weekends. They want to get out and do things but have a lack of motivation when it comes to doing it alone.

Make small plans with your friends during the weekends to fill times when you feel isolated and lonely. Walking through a park, exploring new and unknown places or even getting together to watch a movie can all help combat weekend loneliness.

Small things can make a difference when you aren’t feeling the greatest.

Get outside
Being outside seems to have a healing effect on negative emotions. It makes me feel energized and happy on any occasion, especially once the weather improves.

It can improve depressive thoughts that can sometimes come from isolation. Being outside and taking in the beauty of nature can connect you to the world, relieving the loneliness.

Focus on your health
Frequently eating healthycan really help your mood. Fueling your body for the day can help a person conquer their daily stressors.

A 2014 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a high-quality diet is associated with better mental health and a low-quality diet is associated with poor mental health.

Not only does eating healthy help your outlook and mood, so does exercising. I’m not saying you have to become a frequent flyer at the Wellness Center to see results. Going for a walk, going ice skating at the Larson Ice Center or trying your luck at the rock wall can release those endorphins and boost the way you feel.

Loneliness may be strong, but it isn’t permanent. Don’t forget to engage in the events and activities around you that make you feel the most fulfilled. Doing things that make you full will develop your character as you make your campus atmosphere a more friendly place.

Natalie Hilden is the Opinion Editor for The Collegian and can be reached at nhilden@sdsucollegian.com.

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