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People who have depression often feel withdrawn and isolated from others. This not only negatively impacts relationships, this isolation can also make the depression worse. Does this sound like you? There are things that you can do to counter the impact of depression on withdrawal and social isolation.

#1: Get out of the House

The first thing that you can do to overcome social isolation is to simply get out of the house. When you feel depressed, it feels easier to stay at home and even in bed. There are several reasons why:

  • Depression saps your energy and motivation.
  • It feels more comfortable, even safer, to stay within your home.
  • You can more easily control your home environment.

This is why it is so helpful to get outside. Now, you don’t have to immerse yourself in a crowd at the local mall. However, you could take a walk around your neighborhood each day. The fresh air and sunshine will do you some good, and you can interact with your neighbors. Plus, exercise such as walking has both physical and psychological benefits.

#2: Find People with Similar Interests

Another way to overcome social isolation is to find other people who have similar interests. You will find it easier to “break the ice” with others and have something to talk about. Examples of common interests include:

  • Hobbies
  • Sports
  • Current events.
  • Movies/TV shows.
  • Music

If you are unsure where to look to find these people, look no further than the internet! There are plenty of groups that have an online presence where you can find contact information. However, make sure that they actually meet face-to-face, such as a coffee shop. This is because only having online communication won’t help your depression or social isolation. You need to interact with other people in a physical space, not cyberspace.

#3: Stay in Touch with Friends and Family

Close friends and family are always important and it is critical that you maintain these ties as well. If you are struggling to get out of the house or even finding others with common interests, why not invite a friend or family member to your place? Is spending an afternoon with a sibling, parent, or friend still too overwhelming? You could simply have them over for lunch or dinner. Even if it is just for an hour the time you spend together can help temporarily break the social isolation.

#4: Join a Co-Working Group

In the past, your place of work could help with overcoming social isolation. This is because most people worked at an office, factory, or another place of business. In turn, they were required to interact with other people face-to-face. However, in the modern economy more of us work from home. This can amplify social isolation. You can address this by joining a co-working group or club that meets regularly. Even if you don’t get much work done this is great opportunity to not only create some friendships but also expand your professional network too.

#5: Go to the Gym or Library

Aren’t these opposite concepts? Not if you look deeper. Yes, it is possible to go to the library or the gym and either read or work out on your own. However, both places often offer classes where you can learn something new and meet other people. Your local library may have a book club. On the other hand, the gym may have group fitness options, such as a spin or yoga class. Also, reading and exercising are fun and are good for the mind, body, and soul.

Social isolation is a common symptom of depression. It can be easy to just let the depression take over and remove yourself from the world. Instead, try these simple, beneficial things to stay engaged and present. If you struggle to take the first step on your own, reach out to a therapist. In the long run, these activities, supported by a therapeutic relationship, will help you beat depression and live the life you’re meant for.

If you feel stuck in feelings of sadness or despair and are considering therapy, click here to learn more about depression treatment.

About the author

Kate Kendrick is a psychotherapist and relationship counselor in private practice in Longmont, CO.  She works with adults who are struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, grief, existential issues and marital/relationship problems.