As an introvert, or as a young adult asserting your independence, you might choose to live alone on purpose. Alternatively, you might plan to move in with siblings, cousins, friends, or acquaintances, but these potential roommates flake on you, or their lives go in a different direction. They decide to pursue a master’s degree in a different city, or they move in with their significant others instead.
In any case, you’re currently living alone in the apartment you just moved into, and you might live alone for a year or more. Even the most independent introverts suffer mentally and emotionally when they spend too much time by themselves, so you have to watch for signs of loneliness and isolation. You also need to know what to do when you feel lonely. You’ll find all this information below.
Dangers and Signs of Loneliness-Based Depression
Loneliness can make you depressed, even if you’re an introvert. If you move to a new city with no friends or no contact with your loved ones, and you live alone, then your isolation could lead to depression. Some signs of loneliness-based depression include:
- Higher stress levels even when you experience normal stressors, such as work or school
- A drained feeling after social interaction, even though you wish for human contact
- Higher blood pressure and tension throughout the body, which constricts the blood vessels and leads to less oxygen and fewer nutrients reaching your cells, which in turn lowers your immune system’s strength
- Weight gain
- Insomnia when you go to bed and lethargy or exhaustion when you wake up
- Decreased memory function and increased learning difficulties
When these symptoms wear down on you long enough, they could lead to other complications as well. Additionally, should you feel more emotionally unstable, vulnerable, or sad, these feelings can also indicate that isolation has taken its toll. So, you have to build social interaction into your regimen to boost your chances of staying mentally healthy.
Ways to Combat Loneliness When You Live Alone
Nobody deserves to feel lonely or isolated. You should do the following if you suspect your alone time has had an adverse effect on you.
1. Schedule a Time to Call or Video Chat Your Friends and Family Every Week
You might live thousands of miles and several time zones away from your friends and family, but you should still speak to them face-to-face at least once a week. You have many video chat platforms to choose from, even from social media and Internet giants like Google or Facebook. And if you can, talk to them more often, even if you bounce written messages back and forth.
2. Do Yoga, Work Out, or Go for a Run When You Wake Up Every Morning
Physical activity relieves the stress of isolation, especially if you exercise in a public place like a gym or a class. Even if you just go for a run, you’ll give your mind some respite when you pass other people on the street. Exercise also releases hormones that improve your mood, so you’ll feel happier anyway.
3. Stick to a Healthy Diet-Don’t Consume Too Many Sweets and Carbs
You might want to eat all the chocolate you can get your hands on when you feel down. However, stick to fruits and vegetables because they’ll keep your metabolism up and fill your body with health- and mood-boosting nutrients.
4. Join Clubs, Study Groups, Churches, or Other Organizations in Your Area
You can’t see your friends and family every day, so find other ways to regularly see people outside of work or school. Go to clubs and study groups if you’re a student. You can still join community groups even if you’re not a student. Find an organization to spend time with, and make friends there. Make sure you go outside to participate with a group once a week at least.
You shouldn’t feel down after a move. That move should signal the start of a new adventure and count as a positive step instead. Use the tips above to stay optimistic if you’ll live alone. And if you need more tips on making the best possible new start after a relocation, check out our other blog posts.