Can Living Alone Harm Your Mental Health?

woman staring out of closed window

“You can pull over by that white awning,” I told my Lyft driver.

I hauled my two large army-green duffles, red Osprey suitcase, black backpack and canvas bag — filled with essentials like my electric kettle and drum from Sedona—out of the trunk and onto the curb. I noticed a group of graduate students greeting new residents at the door wearing Columbia University t-shirts that said Office of Residential Services on the front. It still felt weird to be back at school.

After I checked myself in, one of the students wearing the Office of Residential Services t-shirts came over with a giant yellow bin and asked me if I would like help bringing my stuff up to my apartment. I happily accepted, tossed all of my stuff into the yellow bin, and we rolled it to the elevator together.

“What floor?” the student asked.

“Sixteen,” I replied. Continue reading Can Living Alone Harm Your Mental Health?

5 Ways to Deal with Loneliness

Girl sitting in chair

All of us get lonely at one time or another. In fact, loneliness is a normal reaction to feeling disconnected from others either physically, emotionally, or both. But that doesn’t mean that it is an easy emotion to live with. And loneliness can sometimes be a trigger for other mental health issues like depression. Learning how to deal with loneliness as an occasional feature is an important skill that can greatly improve the quality of one’s life. Continue reading 5 Ways to Deal with Loneliness

How I Overcame Loneliness

man alone in bed dark room blinds shut

One of the darker times in my life came after the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. It was the end of Albuquerque’s Pride weekend, a celebration of togetherness and community, but I quickly found myself feeling more isolated than ever. In times of tragedy, healthy people lean on others for support. I didn’t do that.

After a year of shutting out everybody who tried to care about me, I had nobody left to talk to. My best friend was in another city and my parents were in another state. All my friends were seeking solace with their families, their close friends, and their lovers, while I was attempting to drown out the collective sobs of my LGBTQ brothers and sisters with my one true love — work.

But misery doesn’t just love company, it needs it to heal. After a couple days of denial, I fell apart. All I wanted was a hug. I chose to seek comfort in people I thought were sure to know exactly how I felt: other gay men. Not quite finished with my poor life choices, I chose to connect with them on Grindr. I can say with great confidence that one-night flings with strangers will do nothing to fix loneliness. Continue reading How I Overcame Loneliness

Alone Time: Why It Matters and How to Claim It

woman drinking table alone

Most days, I work from home, alone. I also often travel alone. Solitude is a central part of my everyday existence. Yet I am not lonely.

Working alone doesn’t meant I don’t collaborate. I schedule virtual and in-person meetings with team members and clients.

Traveling alone is less of a sentence to isolation and more of an opportunity to connect with strangers and welcome unexpected encounters into my journey. It also offers more freedom and flexibility than traveling with others.

There’s much written about our culture of distraction, but there’s too little discussion of the value of time spent truly alone. We largely fear it and cling to the pings and prods from our personal devices to keep us in constant company.

Don’t get me wrong. Connection still matters. It is an important indicator of health and happiness. Studies indicate that social isolation is more dangerous to your health than obesity, increasing your risk of premature death by more than 14%.

But quality alone time does not indicate loneliness. Celebrating solitude doesn’t condemn connection. Continue reading Alone Time: Why It Matters and How to Claim It

How Much Do You Really Know About Loneliness?

So, Loneliness is Really Bad But is it Lethal

Yes, loneliness can impact your lifespan.
The truth is, if you haven’t experienced loneliness for yourself, no matter how much you read, talk, or hear about it, you may never fully understand what it’s like. It’s more than just a longing for authentic and meaningful connections with others, loneliness is a state that impacts the overall emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing of a person. Continue reading How Much Do You Really Know About Loneliness?

The Sad Truth About Loneliness in a Connected World

The Sad Truth About Loneliness in a Connected World

“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Imagine the following scenario: You are sitting in a restaurant with your best friend. It’s been a long time since you’ve seen each other and you have been looking forward to reconnecting. Instead of doing exactly that, you are both on Facebook, liking and sharing posts that have nothing to do with what’s happening between you right then and there. When you leave dinner, you realize that you still miss your friend, but you’re not sure why. Furthermore, it dawns on you that recently, you’ve been feeling a bit disconnected from all of your friends, and it makes you terribly sad. Continue reading The Sad Truth About Loneliness in a Connected World