Loneliness in your 20s

Britain Get Talking recently announced that nearly half of teens suffer with anxiety. This statistic prompted me to think about the 20-somethings struggling with the feeling of loneliness and isolation.


Being in your 20s often comes with an idealisation from society. We often think being in your 20s comes with an immense sense of freedom, lack of responsibility and very little pressure. The reality is very different; the tide has turned against this generation with COVID-19, taking two years of their supposed “best years”.

The cost of living crisis means dependency on family for housing with more and more 20-somethings unable to leave home and start their own life with their own identity, creating feelings of low self-worth and restriction. The competitive housing market has left 20-somethings unable to put their first foot on the property ladder. And with extortionate rents, this generation is in a never-ending cycle of expensive living, feeling like they are never achieving or progressing in the way society and family often think they should.

Current 20-somethings are the first generation to experience social media and (depending on how far they are into their 20s) the last generation to experience a childhood without technology - a hybrid way of life and thinking. Social media’s impact on mental health is overwhelming, the pressure to have it all figured out is all too real for the majority but what feels like a mountain of factors stacked against a 20-something leaves me wondering, is anyone discussing the brutal honesty of what it is like to be in your 20s?

Loneliness exists in this age bracket. Too often than not, the focus is on the elderly, which society deems to be acceptable but to feel isolated and low in the “best years of your life” feels shameful. This creates the internalisation of low self-worth, leading to poor mental health with depression and anxiety taking the lead role for this age category.

5 self-help tips to manage mental health in your 20s

1. Don’t give in to pressure

Make decisions in your best interest. Whether it be professional or personal, now is the time to be selfish with your decision-making. Don’t make a decision based on someone else’s emotions/expectations.

2. Take a social media break

Or limit time on social media. Be disciplined and honest with yourself about how much screen time you are using. Find purpose in spending time alone, reconnect with a loved one by initiating a task such as cooking or walking the dog, and leave the phone out of the room whilst you do this so you are more engaged in the task/conversation. 

3. Find the friendship group that works for you

We are always changing in our 20s, taking different paths in life, our needs/wants and interests change now more than ever. Recognise the changes and do not be scared of them. Change is healthy.

4. Normalise failed relationships

Instagram makes us feel like we are only the person in the world without someone, but we aren’t. Use this time to understand what works for you and what doesn’t. 

5. Talk to someone

It could be a friend, a family member or a psychotherapist - just talk. Reach out when you need advice because now more than ever advice is needed to help us navigate this difficult journey. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Manchester M1 & M2
Written by Lucy Smith, Psychotherapist & Clinical Supervisor.
Manchester M1 & M2

Lucy Smith - Relational Integrative Psychotherapist working in Private Practice. Please call or email to arrange a free introduction. Email lucy@therapyforyou.live Tell: 07985650159. More information on my link - https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellors/lucy-smith

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