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Lads, we need to talk about loneliness.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected us all in one way or another - whether it be through lost family members, lockdown or loneliness.
As it turns out, the latter has had a huge impact on, well, a lot of us. A new study shows that young men are more likely to be lonely than older people and women.
Research from Exeter, Manchester and Brunel universities found that there was a steady increase in loneliness caused by COVID-19 as people get younger.
Sometimes we don't talk about loneliness with our peers, so with that in mind, here are some tips and tricks to get you through one of the hardest times in modern history...
Start the Conversation
We all know about Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. Group chats are a key tool in keeping in touch with those you love.
Beyond this idea (we're all getting Zoom fatigue), why not try and use the app in a different way? For example...
1. Take part in an online pub quiz (Jay's Virtual Pub Quiz runs every Thursday, FYI)
2. Connect with others through online games (COD: Warzone is free to play online)
3. Have a virtual gathering with your pals (and get the beers in)
And if none of that's your bag, you could always download Dialup - an app that randomly matches you to a chat partner to have an old fashioned chinwag.
Clear Your Mind
While we're talking about talking, sometimes you just need a little quiet, which is why we've put together a bunch of ideas you could use to turn that 'washing machine brain' off.
There's always meditation and mindfulness - not the easiest task when you're worrying about a pandemic, but there are a bunch of apps to help you along the way, including Headspace, Calm and Insight Timer.
Alternatively, you could try a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) course.
Part of struggling with mental health is having irrational thoughts that don't necessarily make sense, and CBT helps to teach you to challenge these thoughts and ease the worry.
Staying in can be just as fun and productive as going out... you just need to know how to play it.
One of the best ways to spend your time is to learn a new skill.
It's never been so easy and there are thousands of online courses to help you start. Just try a quick search on YouTube - you'll be sure to find someone sharing their knowledge.
Alternatively, you can help other people to learn new skills themselves. You never know, your new-found creativity might even make you some bank.
If music is your thing, Apple's currently offering free 90-day access to its Logic Pro X DAW so everyone can get involved.
It's also doing the same with Final Cut Pro X - aka, all those aspiring directors and video editors out there can have a bash at making their own cuts for free.
And if photography piques your interest, set yourself up on any one of the following FREE online photo editors: GIMP, Canva, Fotor, PhotoScape or Pixlr X.
Meet Someone New
If you feel you're ready, one of the best ways to connect is, of course, finding love.
Staying safe is key, and while you might think this isn't possible, you just have to get creative.
Take Jeremy Cohen from New York, for example, who spotted a woman dancing on the rooftop of the building across from his home.
The photographer at first waved and said 'hi' before writing down his number and taping it to a drone which he then flew over to her.
And his plan worked - the woman, whose name is Tori, texted back and the pair have even had a virtual date. Romance in 2021, eh?
If giant plastic balls aren't your thing, you can always just download Hinge, Bumble, Friender, Hey! VINA or Peanut like the rest of us.
Achieve Your Goals
LADs Set Goal At 16 To 'Retire' Their Mum And They've Done It
Whether it's simply getting out of bed or kickstarting your next big project, achieving our goals can give us a kick of dopamine to help us stay motivated.
For a little bit of #goals inspiration, take a look at 16-year-old Jhai Dhillon and his brother Simmy, who started to put together a plan for the company they'd been dreaming of in order to 'retire' their mum.
Fast forward seven years and the LADs - who own meal preparation business Rice n Spice Meals - have finally done what the majority of us could only wish to do and gave their mum the chance to retire from her job at Tesco.
Kal Dhillon, 49, now has enough money for the rest of her life, leaving her with the freedom to do whatever she wishes with her days
Although you might not be expecting to bring your parents - or yourself, for that matter - into early retirement, why not take the time to kickstart that project you've been dreaming of?
Or you know, just do the dishes. That's good too.
Take a screenshot of our infographic below for safe-keeping, or to share with your mates:
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