Moving into my new apartment was an exciting experience. Not only could I now decorate how I wanted, but it also gave me a new sense of independence and as an introvert, time spent alone. That being said, with new independence also comes something else I wasn’t quite expecting; loneliness. Although the feeling of loneliness comes and goes, it’s not a great feeling when it occurs. According to the American Psychological Association, loneliness is defined as discomfort from being or perceiving oneself to be alone or solitary. There are many situations that can contribute to loneliness, such as moving to a new city, starting a new job or in my case, moving to new apartment.
While experiencing loneliness is common, if left untended and unaddressed it can be harmful to your mental and physical health and lead to depression, sleep problems, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity and poor health. Despite the many factors that can contribute to loneliness, there are steps to you can take to conquer it. While it will depend on the individual and situation, here are some ideas you can follow to help combat the feeling of being alone.
Focus on what you can change. Dwelling on what you cannot change may lead to an increase in feelings of anxiety or depression, which can then lead to an increase in loneliness. Focus on what you can change and what is in your control.
Find activities to participate in. This could include joining a class or club you enjoy or volunteering for a cause you are passionate about. This will give you something to do that is not only meaningful to you, but provides a good distraction from feelings of loneliness. On this same note, by finding activities to join, you may also be able to form connections.
Forming connections and meeting people that share your interests is good when you are feeling particularly alone, as humans need social interaction and connection. Even those who are introverts (myself included), have the desire to be around others at times. If you don’t feel comfortable creating new connections, it’s suggested to strengthen existing relationships. You may already be satisfied with the people in your life, but want to work on creating a deeper relationship with them. By doing this, it could also help combat feelings of loneliness.
Some other suggestions or steps you could take to combat that lonely feeling are:
- Adopt a pet
- Practice self-care
- Do something that brings you joy
If you are still feeling chronically lonely and don’t know how to fix it or you just don’t have the energy to, you may want to reach out to a therapist. A symptom of major depressive disorder is loss of interest and isolation, so if you are feeling this, it might be a good idea to receive outside help. Remember, experiencing feelings of loneliness is common, but if it becomes excessive or impacts daily life, it may be time to ask for help or reach out to someone close to you. There are many ways to combat this feeling, so you just have to take the first step and start.
Staff Blogger: Mollie Clupper
Mollie Clupper is working for MHA as a Communications and Support Specialist. Using her own experiences, she wants to help bring awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental health. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, drinking coffee, and spending time with her fur-niece.