I sat down on Sunday and added some social events to my calendar. I need to get out and meet new people. I need to be with people. I started my own Meetup Group, and while it’s slow in getting started, I’ve already made a few new friends. I even decided that I needed to get off dating apps for awhile. I meet a few people that way, but it’s mostly texting, and to be honest, it takes a lot of time to date. And when I’m dating, I’m not making time for meeting other people who can be a part of my tribe. I think I’ll put dating on the back burner for awhile – at least from apps.
It’s so easy to just kill time when I get home, cook dinner and workout. I can get caught up reading the news or listening to podcasts or even reading a book. And one day I look up and it’s been days or even a week or more since I’ve conversed face-to-face with another human being.
At work today we had a Halloween party. It was the best Halloween party I’ve ever attended at work. I think everybody in our organization dressed up. And I felt so happy. Instead of us all being head down in our computers or running from meeting to meeting, we took time to laugh and grab cookies and talk to each other about our costumes. Everybody said it was the best party we’ve ever had on the floor. I think we needed it. I know I did.
So many people lately have been telling me they are depressed. The fact of the matter is I feel a bit depressed, too. Regardless of how I feel politically, it’s depressing that our country’s people are so divided. It feels hopeless to hear talk of nuclear war. I feel anxious about my future, my ability to retire and my ability to afford health insurance if I ever do retire. It is within the realm of possibility that I will have to work until I’m very old. It makes me sad and scared and depressed.
So I’ve been doing all of the things that I know help me when I’m depressed. I’m exercising, running, meditating, doing yoga when I can and making myself get out and meet people. I would like to say I’ve been watching my diet, but, unfortunately, I’ve been partaking of Halloween junk for two days. I’ll get back to it, but it wreaks havoc on my mood. It’s turning colder, so I need to ramp up my socializing so I don’t just curl up on my couch and wake up in the spring with a horrid case of the blues.
My friend Laura blogged today about the importance of being around people. For me, too, that message has been popping up everywhere. It reminds me that I need to make an effort to talk to people. It’s so easy to just text or interact on social media. But it’s sort of like dating for me. If I spend all of that time on social media, I’m not out making real friends and building my tribe. It’s just not the same.
I know that there are hormones that are released when we react with people in person. (You can read more about it here.) Oxytocin is released when we touch others or feel close to them. Oxytocin boosts serotonin which relieves depression and reduces fear. And I know when I look into another person’s eyes, and we share a laugh or a personal story, I feel this wash of something really amazing come over me. It makes me happy. I feel less alone. I feel totally present and engaged in my life. Maybe that’s oxytocin. Maybe it’s just a feeling. But, whatever it is, I want that. And the only way to get that is to get off my couch and make an effort to create it. So, I gotta go. I’m headed out to meet some new people…. yes …. on a Tuesday.