What to do if you're "Alonely"

If you're a person who gets energetically drained after socializing with people, you're probably "Alonely", the opposite of lonely. 

According to this recent-ish study, Aloneliness is the negative feelings that arise from not spending enough time alone.

Since I've become a relative recluse in the last year, I've had twelve months to perfect "me" time, and as the world slowly opens I have no plans to give that up easily. And if you're "alonely" you shouldn't either. 

From Psychology Today

If you're a person who needs a lot of time alone to feel balanced or clear-headed, then when you're operating at a deficiency (i.e. you are "alonely"), your well-being might be at risk. You likely end up feeling irritable, overwhelmed, or drained.

The researchers recommended deliberately planning or scheduling time alone in order to avoid what they call a "negative degenerative cycle." They explained that when your need for solitude gets continually thwarted by the stress of competing demands on your time (or space), the result is an increase in feelings of aloneliness, which then increases stress and life dissatisfaction. This negative cycle can exacerbate internalizing symptoms (e.g. depression).

In other words, the cure for feeling alonely is to spend more time alone. This finding might seem obvious, but in practice, it can be quite difficult to make happen in daily life.

I'm all for taking space — mental, physical, emotional — and blocking off time for everyone but yourself. For me, every other weekend is enough, as long as I can have at least one night a week after work without socializing, screens or my husband.

But like I said, I've had a year to figure this out. My recommendation (and my therapist's) is to take time to notice how you feel with your schedule now (when you're around other people vs alone) and figure out how much "alone time" you need to stay balanced and satisfied with life.