Coping with summer loneliness
Summer isn’t easy when you’re unemployed
Written by Clodagh McMeel
Voices - Advice
Young people share advice based on their experiences.
As soon as the Christmas tree went back up to the attic, you started to wait for it. You started to research holidays, you bought just one too many pairs of shorts online, and you’ve been battling a cold for the last few weeks because you refuse to wear a jacket. Why? Because it’s summer. Those glorious 3 months that every student awaits. 3 months free of assignments, homework, and alarms. But sometimes, those 3 months are not all they’re cracked up to be. Sometimes, they can be boring. Sometimes, they can be lonely. That can be hard to deal with. Summer is painted to be the best time of our lives, full of exciting trips and adventure, but more often than not, it’s nowhere what we expect it’s going to be. No one talks about how lonely it can be.
Summer is supposed to be the time you and your friends go on a road-trip every month, discover hidden gems, and basically have the time of your life. But what about when you’re unemployed? When you spend your days handing out C. Vs and searching for jobs online, trying to save money, while your friends go to work? When you’re the only one without a job, it can be incredibly lonely. There’s nothing worse than staying at home, watching Netflix episode after episode, while you wait for people to get their roster to see if they can meet up. Don’t let it get you down. It’s easy to feel like you have nothing going for you when you’re stuck inside, watching the day get bright and then dark again. What’s worse, it’s even easier to get into a rut, like messing up your sleep cycle; staying up until 2am only to sleep in until 2pm. Even if you have no job, take charge of your day. Set an alarm, get your sleeping back on track. Decide on some projects, maybe make dinner one day. Finish learning that piano piece you started three months ago. Do something for yourself, and you won’t feel as lonely.
Having no job also means that while you may have the time, you might not have the money. Sure, inter-railing sounds great, but it also sounds crazy expensive. We live in a little country that does not see the sun that much, so it’s only natural that our thoughts go abroad when we think about holidays. But, sometimes it’s a little harder for our bank account to get there. And then you’re left at home, while it appears that everyone else in the world is checking into Terminal 1 on Facebook. But you don’t have to always leave the country to get away. You don’t even need a car. Get on a bus or train, and jet down the country to somewhere you haven’t visited before. The water in Galway may not be as clear as in Thailand, but that doesn’t make it any less worth a visit.
Whether you’re employed or not, everyone experiences a shift in friendships and relationships during the summer. When college ends, everybody moves back home and your best friend disappears halfway up the country, far, far away from you. You then suddenly find yourself eating a burrito without your trusty crew, and that change is huge. Swapping your best friends for your parents and your dog can be challenging. We love our parents, sure, but they can be annoying as hell, and only make you miss your friends even more. It can feel lonely when you’re constantly on the group WhatsApp group, trying to find a day that suits everyone. It makes you feel like you’re the only one who has no plans.
The transition from school/college to summer can be tough. If you’re finding your summer lonely, know that you’re not alone. It’s not weird to feel lonely during the summer months. The pressure to have an amazing summer can be a bit too much, which can render all that you do insignificant in comparison. Just because you’re not at the beach every day, or you’re spending your summer days with a book on your bed, it doesn’t mean that your summer is bad. But don’t feel bad if you’re finding yourself feeling lonely and down during your summer. Remind yourself that it’s your summer. No one can tell you what you’re supposed to do or how you’re supposed to spend your time. Take the steps to get out of your rut, and decide to do something small each day. A little structure will go a long way, trust me.