Welcome everyone and happy Monday! This weeks word of the week is ‘isolation’ – a term I’m sure everyone is familiar with or even struggles with. I want to touch on some pros and cons of isolation, as well as ways to prevent dangerous outcomes of isolating yourself. Remember, there is a difference between ‘alone time’ and ‘isolation.’
Isolation: in terms of mental health, isolation is defined as – creating a gap between an unpleasant condition and other thoughts/feelings by minimizing socialization and meaningful connection with others.
According to psychalive.org, Being Alone: The Pros and Cons of Time Alone – the population is almost exactly split in half by those who prefer alone time and are introverts and by those who prefer to spend a majority of their time with others socializing, labeled extroverts. I want to emphasize that there is a difference between ‘alone time’ and isolation. Isolation begins when you notice yourself going days at a time without interacting with someone along with the lack of desire to do so in the first place. Isolation is one of the key symptoms of depression. If you or someone you know is spending a majority of the day in bed or alone, you could be depressed. On the other hand, we ALL need quality of alone time every once in a while. The important thing to do is be mindful of how much alone time we take and be aware of the things we do in our alone time. Another surprising statistic is from goodtherapy.org that reports 47% of Americans do NOT have a meaningful social interaction on a daily basis. Thats a huge number! We feel much better about ourselves and social image when we are able to communicate well with others and talk about common interests.
Benefits of alone time include:
- Recharging your brain
- Processing a difficult or unpleasant situation
- Boosts productivity and creativity
- Helps strengthen relationships by improving self-worth and also following by the good ole’ saying – “absence makes the heart grow fonder” which always proves to be true.
- Using the time to engage in self-care.
Cons of alone time are noted to be:
- Makes us vulnerable to ‘the voice inside our head’ – can cause us to overthink and self-criticize.
- Can lead to loneliness – (loneliness increases mortality by up to 30%!)
- Can hurt relationships and create a disconnect.
- Unproductive use of time.
All in all, it’s important to dedicate at least 10 hours a week for ‘alone time’, whether that be taking 1.5 hours each afternoon, 5 hours each day on the weekend, or choosing one day during the week to just ‘veg-out’. Personally, I prefer dedicating about an hour and 30 minutes each afternoon to blog, read a book, or catch up on my favorite TV show. Find routine that works for you! Prevent isolating by engaging in an activity that you enjoy or simply by calling/texting a friend to interact with.
Stay tuned tomorrow for information on a new coffee/energy product that helps to boost mental energy and stabilize mood under ‘Lifestyle and Nutrition’!