Written by Sarah
Is Co-Living the Solution to Loneliness?
More than three quarters of 18 to 34-year-olds living in Britain say they feel lonely, so it comes as no surprise that most students feel anxious when moving to a new city for university. Loneliness and social isolation is bad for your health and wellbeing, so much so that a lack of meaningful social relationships is a risk factor for early death – the equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
A lot of people assume young people are lonely because we live in a technological age, where the majority our social interactions are now formed through screens, but actually research has found that social media can actually enhance relationships that are also present offline.
So if it’s not social media, why is loneliness such a problem? Researchers have found that levels of in-person interactions, physical and mental wellness, and life balance are more likely to predict loneliness than social media usage. And it’s likely to have all started before you could even hold a phone, with cultural shifts and changing parenting styles people have become unable to cope with impromptu social situations and everyday awkwardness.
As psychologist Lauren Saler explains ‘Awkward encounters with people are how we learn to be more comfortable. And some of this generation is short-circuiting the opportunity for these interactions’, as young people are socialising less in person and dating less than past generations.
“A lack of meaningful social relationships is a risk factor for early death”
But it doesn’t have to be this way… and it’s not just about embracing those awkward situations! It’s about community and connections, and sharing experiences with others – of course in theory that sounds easy, but in reality it can be a lot harder.
So where do you start? Well when you’re moving to a new city, one of the first things you look for is somewhere to live and this could be the answer – good housing can help strengthen social interaction and bonds. An increasingly popular option among young people in London is co-living – a space where residents have their own bedroom, but share communal facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms, as it encourages a more sociable lifestyle with face-to-face interactions – something we considered when creating The Project at Hoxton.
We’ve worked with top industry experts to make sure The Project has plenty of social spaces to help you meet other students, from open kitchens and games rooms to study areas. You really won’t have to worry about being lonely here and when you do need to escape your apartment will be just up the stairs!