13 Reasons Why You Isolate Yourself? (And What You Can Do Instead)

Last Update on August 25, 2022 : Published on August 25, 2022
Reasons Why You Isolate Yourself

Have you ever found yourself wondering, “I want to isolate myself from the rest of the world”? Have you ever wondered why you isolate yourself or want to isolate yourself from everyone else? Is it because your emotions are too overwhelming to share with others or because your mental health tells you to?

If you’re not sure about why you isolate yourself, don’t fret! You’re not the only one who struggles with feelings of self-isolation and there can be many reasons why you prefer to isolate yourself. Some of them, we’ll be exploring below.

Self-isolation is when you choose to step away from social situations and prefer to stay with yourself, avoiding everyone around you. This anti-social behavior can mean that you lack healthy relationships and solid social support. It can also mean that you have low self-esteem and no confidence in yourself.

Choosing to stay alone and preferring to spend time with yourself is not wrong. It is normal to want to isolate yourself but when this self-imposed isolation begins to harm the other aspects of your life, then it can be a problem and can indicate underlying symptoms of poor mental health.

Let’s look at the reasons why you isolate yourself and what you can do instead.

13 Reasons Why You Isolate Yourself

1. Depression

One of the major reasons why you isolate yourself can be depression or poor mental health. Poor mental health can mean a hormonal imbalance in the brain that can leave you feeling down, helpless, lonely, and unmotivated. Some people choose to isolate themselves to better care for their mental health but other times.

Also Read: Signs of Depression: Depression Symptoms To Look Out For

Poor mental health can make it harder for one to complete basic tasks, even smile let alone hold a conversation, and that can be one of the reasons why people isolate themselves.

Depression can be emotionally, mentally, and physically draining so to cope with such a heavy toll, isolation is preferred. While not the right solution, many people choose to do so.

Here’s what you can do instead:

  • Avoid giving in to the urge to isolate yourself by reaching out to a loved one
  • Try to engage in an activity you find interesting. It’ll also be good if you invite someone else to share the experience
  • Call a loved one or a support person
  • Call or reach out to a mental health chat forum to connect with people going through similar experiences
  • Join a support group and connect with others to learn more about your condition
  • Join a club or a class that connects you with your passion, interest, or hobbies

2. Anxiety Disorders

One of the most common anxiety disorders that can cause you to isolate yourself is a social anxiety disorder. This anxiety disorder makes you experience an intense fear of social situations and can manifest in different ways. If your social anxiety prevails, it can cause significant harm to the other aspects of your life.

Social anxiety can make it harder for you to meet people, participate in social interactions, go grocery shopping, eat out, and even drive. It can also leave you feeling vulnerable so to avoid feeling this, people choose to isolate themselves to prevent any of the symptoms from arising. They like to keep to themselves to avoid feeling judged by others.

Here’s what you can do instead:

  • Learn to understand your triggers and what makes you feel anxious
  • Learn stress management techniques to work in social situations
  • Learn how to live in the present. This can help a lot when it comes to coping with anxiety
  • Learn to question your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

3. Toxic Relationships

Another reason you isolate yourself is because of your toxic relationships. If there’s a toxic family member, spouse, partner, or friend near you, you’d rather isolate yourself than interact with them. A toxic person is critical and will try to make you feel bad about yourself which can drive you away from them, eventually leading to self-isolation.

While relationships are important, it’s also important to note that no one has the right to mistreat or disrespect you. Even if isolating yourself feels like a good option, here’s what you can do instead:

  • Create and set healthy boundaries around the toxic person
  • Limit contact and interaction with the toxic person
  • Instead of judging others, try to self-reflect
  • Try to use the Grey Rock Method to deal with the toxic person in your life
  • Lean on your support system whenever you encounter the toxic person

4. Grief Or Mourning

When you’re grieving or mourning the loss of a loved one, isolating yourself from others can seem like a good option to come to terms with your turbulent emotions. Losing a loved one – whether a partner through a breakup, divorce, separation, death, or a loss of a pet – can be hard. It can make you feel empty and lost, making you feel overwhelmed from time to time.

While isolating yourself from others to deal with grief can seem like a good choice, it’s not. Everyone has a different way of processing grief but you need to make sure that it does not interfere with your functioning.

Here’s what you can do instead:

  • Talk about the loss with a trusted person
  • Take care of yourself – emotionally, mentally, and physically
  • Seek out grief support and help when needed
  • Try to remember happy memories with your loved one instead of sad ones

5. Moving To A New Place

When a major lifestyle change happens such as moving to a new place – two, city, country, etc. – it can bring up emotions that can cause homesickness and make you want to isolate yourself from others. It’s not easy to move from one place to another. Moving can mean starting from scratch and to avoid this, many people choose to isolate themselves.

However, self-imposed isolation can just increase your anxiety and make you feel even unsure of your feelings. If you’re isolating yourself because you’ve moved to a new place, here’s what you can do instead:

  • Join a local community and introduce yourself to your neighbors
  • Join a local club or class
  • Volunteer for a local shelter or community center
  • Try to meet new people as much as you can

6. Catastrophic Thinking

Another possible reason you isolate yourself from everyone else is your catastrophic thinking. Catastrophic thinking is when you think about the worst-case scenarios and ruminate on them. If you struggle with catastrophic thinking, then it can make you feel quite anxious and worried, making you want to isolate yourself.

When you’re engaged in catastrophic thinking, you want to actively avoid any situation that may prove your worst-case scenario true. Here’s what you can do instead:

  • Pay attention to your feelings
  • Create and maintain a self-care routine
  • Try to reframe your thinking to put things in perspective
  • Practice staying in the present moment
  • Reach out to a counselor for therapy
  • Try writing your thoughts down in a journal

7. Burnout

When we talk about burnout, it can be anything – from job burnout to introvert burnout. Burnout means the exhaustion one experiences after long periods of stress. Burnout can make you experience a sense of failure, defeat, and hopelessness. It can leave you feeling exhausted beyond normal and want to isolate yourself to cope with it all.

While self-isolation can help deal with the aftermath of burnout, here are other things you can do instead:

  • Practice regular self-care for mind and body
  • Eat healthily and drink plenty of water
  • Get enough sleep
  • Reach out to your support network
  • Take a well-deserved break

8. Embarrassment Or Shame

Another reason why you isolate yourself can be embarrassment and shame. Such feelings can cause you to isolate yourself. Embarrassment can leave you feeling extremely self-conscious and awkward. It can also make you lose your self-esteem.

Another reason for embarrassment can be depression or anxiety. Shame and feelings of embarrassment can also arise from issues such as poor body image, self-consciousness, and poor financial health. While these are normal emotions, they can stop you from enjoying your life and make you lose your confidence in yourself.

Here’s what you can do instead:

  • Find the source of your emotion and see how you can resolve it
  • Work on your self-worth
  • Try to add humor to your embarrassing moments
  • Talk to a trusted person about your feelings

9. Emotional Distress

Emotional distress can also be a reason why you isolate yourself. This pain can be often triggered by anxiety, grief, and depression and can leave you feeling emotionally drained. Emotional distress can cause heaviness in your body and can make you feel unmotivated and helpless.

Regardless, emotional distress can have long-lasting psychological effects, for example, it can leave you with feelings of worthlessness and rage for unexpected reasons. These emotions can make you want to isolate yourself rather than face the world.

However, avoiding the world is not the solution or the right way to deal with emotional distress. Here’s what you can do instead:

  • Find ways for emotional release
  • Journal your feelings
  • Try practicing gratitude
  • Reach out to a loved one
  • Seek professional help

10. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Or Trauma

Trauma is also a reason why you isolate yourself. Feeling unsafe because of your trauma triggers or PTSD symptoms is common and to feel safe again, you may choose to isolate yourself. However, long periods of self-isolation can increase feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression.

While feeling safe is important, it can be counterproductive if you do it while isolating yourself. Living with PTSD and trauma can be challenging but instead of isolating yourself to cope with the feeling, here’s what you can do:

  • Reach out to a professional
  • Acknowledge your emotions
  • Write down your feelings to understand where they’re coming from
  • Get enough rest
  • Keep yourself hydrated and eat healthily
  • Limit contact with people who treat you unkindly

11. Phobias Or Fears

Phobias and fear, while valid, can cause feelings of shame and can leave you feeling unbalanced. Phobias and irrational fears are valid and you’re not the only one who experiences them. However, some phobias can make it harder for you to function normally and complete basic tasks.

It might seem like a good idea to isolate yourself rather than face your phobias but it’s not the right solution. Here’s what you can do instead of isolating yourself:

  • Reach out to a professional for help
  • Practice facing your fears in small steps
  • Learn to be self-compassionate as you work through them
  • Create and maintain a self-care routine

12. Financial Stress

Another reason you may choose to isolate yourself is financial stress. Not only financial stress can make you feel drained, but it can also make you feel ashamed, embarrassed, and low on self-esteem. To deal with these feelings, people may choose to isolate themselves until they gain courage.

However, isolating yourself from others during such difficult times can only increase anxiety and stress. Here’s what you can do instead of isolating yourself:

  • Continue with your bill payments
  • Contact a financial advisor or counselor
  • Sell the assets you can
  • Practice stress management techniques
  • Consider starting a side hustle

13. Social Rejection

When you feel like you don’t belong anywhere, it can also make you want to isolate yourself to cope with the rejection. It can also make you feel emotionally detached and feel like you don’t fit in anywhere. It’s a common reaction to feeling misunderstood and alienated.

When you feel that you don’t belong anywhere, you slowly pull away from your relationships too to avoid feeling rejected. You might also feel hopeless and unsupported which may cause you to isolate yourself.

Here’s what you can do instead:

  • Engage in activities that encourage your confidence
  • Learn to accept who you are
  • Be true to yourself
  • Volunteer for activities that interest you
  • Reach out to a trusted person
  • Schedule lunch/dinner dates with your friends and family
  • Find new hobbies to participate in

In Conclusion…

Self-imposed isolation can leave long-lasting effects on your overall well-being. While it may seem like a good option at the time, remember that in the long term, it can have the opposite effect.

While there are many reasons why you isolate yourself, it’s important to find alternatives that you can engage in instead of self-isolation. The above-mentioned ways on what to do instead of self-isolating can work. If you’re still unsure why you isolate yourself, then you can reach out to a professional counselor or a therapist to understand the source of your feelings.

It’s important to remain in contact with your support system or a therapist instead of isolating yourself when you are in distress. With a solid support system, you can work through any challenges life throws at you.

Maybe it’s your mental health or the feelings of grief that may be making you isolate yourself from everyone around you. Whatever your reason, remember that you can overcome it by seeking the support of your loved ones.

You are not alone and nothing is unresolvable. You’ve taken the first step already so you can take the next ones too!

I hope this blog helps! For more, you can write to us at info@calmsage.com or DM us on social media. You can also share your tips with us in the comments below.

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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