“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
— Alice Walker
April marks the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. Temperatures begin to rise, and flowers and trees bloom along with refreshed perspectives. Despite the pleasant weather, many young people may be struggling with feelings of loneliness—dissatisfied by social networks and connections, the people we rely on, and even our sense of belonging (or lack thereof).
Young people, in particular, are far more likely to experience feelings of loneliness (BBC Loneliness Experiment). For young people of color, rates may be higher due to racial discrimination and cultural isolation on campuses, and exclusion in the workplace (2016 study). At the same time, loneliness is complex and carries health risks of depression (2017 study) and cardiovascular problems (2015 study).
If you’re feeling like you have no one to turn to at work, no one to talk to on campus, or simply lonely in what you’re experiencing right now, here are some tips to help you find your way:
Build Your Network. Look for groups of people with which you share an experience, for example, or a cultural connection. Professional associations, alumni, school and cultural groups, and networking events are all great options for connecting with others.
Connect Virtually. The virtual space provides a wide array of options to build relationships with individuals who may be going through the same challenges as you. Check out the virtual support system we built with 7cups.
Reach Out to a Mentor. During challenging, alienating, or new situations, mentors are great sources of strength. Be frank with them about any isolation you are experiencing so they can support you.
And, finally, don’t forget that The Steve Fund is here for you. We hope that these tips help you feel empowered to take on the second half of 2019 and achieve your goals.