Dear 100 Hour Board,
I have a friend who I met because he’s in my program at school. We ended up living in the same ward this year, so I’ve gotten really close to him and his roommates over the last couple of semesters. I’ve gotten used to spending most of my time with him, because he’s heavily integrated into both of my primary friend groups (my school friends and his apartment). He and I have also shared a lot with each other, and have helped support each other through some difficult life situations.
Through a strange (though admittedly self-inflicted) turn of events, this friend has decided he needs space from me. We didn’t fall out or anything, but out of respect for him, I don’t plan on being in his apartment or spending much time with him for a little while. Unfortunately, this also makes it a little bit difficult to get to the rest of my friends. It’s hard to spend time with his roommates if I can’t be in their apartment. And though it’s a little easier to separate him from my school friends, it’s still kind of difficult to stay out of his way.
On top of that, a lot of my school friends are going to be mostly unavailable for a few days. They’re out of town, or sick and avoiding people, or dealing with other situations, and that means that I can’t really be with them. My roommates are also going out of town. I sort of rely on being with people in the winter, because it helps me curb the effects of seasonal depression and anxiety.
So - what can I do to avoid losing my mind when I have to suddenly go from being constantly surrounded by friends to being cut off from pretty much all of my friends for a few days?
That’s my primary question, but general advice about anything I’ve mentioned is welcome.
I also get stir crazy. I need peoples. I'm basically a complete mess without people, as opposed to only partly being a mess. As I am currently a mess, this answer will also be a bit of a mess. But here it goes; here are some ideas to survive a few days:
- Do you have cousins/nieces or nephews nearby? That's a go to for me. Playing with my nieces is so dang fun!
- Embark on some sort of quest. Go out and visit some ghost towns.
- Use food to lure people to your apartment. At this point in my life I've learned that I don't like chasing people and trying to schedule stuff, so instead I make a bunch of food and then people magically show up.
- Is there some project you've always wanted to do? Now is the time to start learning ukelele, or learning how to bake sourdough bread, or learn unicycle, or wood carving etc. One weekend I was bored and bought a unicycle on KSL for $20. I enjoy having 2-3 days for crazy new projects of some sort. This could be your chance.
- Blast Taylor Swift and deep clean everything. Marie Kondo and get rid of stuff. Get a hair cut. Get your favorite treat and then just be dramatic as you get catch up/get ahead on school work so that you'll be more available for stuff when people are available.
Do special things for yourself. When I'm feeling particularly lonely, but there aren't people around to abate the emotional weight, I'll do something that's a treat. While at BYU, there were more secluded tracks of campus I would wander (walking them in the rain my especial favorite), or I would go to the library, select a book and then proceed to read the entire thing in a single sitting. These may not be great activities for you to lift your spirits, but I'm sure you can find some that are.
Be aware of what kinds of environments you're surrounding yourself in. Personally, slight melancholy is sharply exacerbated when there are lots of people around. I never feel so alone as when there's a sea of faces all around me, but none of them seem to really see me. I much prefer being physically alone, because then there isn't the constant reminder that I'm emotionally alone. Perhaps you are similar, perhaps you're the opposite, or perhaps you're something different. Just be aware of what kinds of situations will make you feel worse.
Maybe this is just me, but I think it's okay to embrace it. Having some time to yourself, as long as it is managed well, can be really great for personal growth.
I like to listen to podcasts and TED talks when I have time alone. I explore my hobbies, I decorate my room, I spend time learning new recipes. As long as having this period of time alone doesn't make your depression worse (definitely focus on taking care of yourself) try to find every possible way to love it. Start some personal rituals. Get yourself a Sodalicious drink and sit in the 3rd floor of the library and people watch. Go to Slam Poetry Night at the Wall. Or, you can always email us to hang out. If you need to be around people, I know the president of the Baking Club, they'd love to welcome you in.
Was this helpful? Who knows. I hope it was somehow.