In this article we are going to discuss the common phenomenon of being single and depressed in your 30s.
We will also take a look at some of the reasons why you might be emotionally distressed at this age and what you can do to cope and turn your life around.
How to cope being 30, single, and depressed?
Here are a few things you can do for yourself to cope with being 30, single, and depressed:
- Invest in positive relationships
- Be in the now
- Don’t stop dating or meeting new people
- Do things that interest you
- Don’t buy into cultural expectations
- Define your goals
- Seek professional help
A recent news article discussing well-being of people in their 30s, highlighted that people between the ages of 30-45 reported themselves as more depressed than any other age group.
People also reported themselves lonely and extremely stressed as they juggle both their professional and private lives.
The article also highlighted that this lack of life satisfaction that is usually observed in people who are in their 40s is now being observed in people in their 30s, indicating that there is a growing trend of emotional distress in younger generations.
A study by the American psychological associations has found that people in their early 30s today tend to be more distressed- with serious psychological distress, major depression, and suicidal thoughts, and more attempted suicide as compared to people who are past their 30s.
Another study that was done with the intent of understanding the trajectory of depression in a lifespan found that people in their 20 and early 30s tend to exhibit emotional distress.
As of today, research has indicated an increase in emotional distress in people of this age group which only shows how common it is. So if you are 30 and struggling mentally, you are not alone.
Let us try to understand why you might be struggling with depression, loneliness in your 30s.
Reasons why you feel lonely and depressed in your 30s
- Life experiences
Your life experiences in your younger years, especially the ones that have not been resolved in healthy ways, can impact the way you see the world and yourself.
These attitudes and beliefs that you develop over time can cause you to develop distortions in your thinking which can impact the way you handle relationships, and yourself.
All of this can cause emotional distress and even create patterns that make it hard for you to develop relationships which can further impact the way you see yourself. Oftentimes if we view ourselves and our lives negatively we become at risk for depression.
- Social life
Past the age of being a college student and a single professional just starting out, people in their 30s notice that they no longer move in large groups.
Your friend circle might have broken up as people get married and often, married people tend to spend more time with other married couples.
The older we get, the more settled and predictable our way of life becomes. As a rule, our lives are built according to the principle: home, work, cleaning, and sports on the weekend.
These routines, though helpful, can become mundane and no longer give you the joy and excitement that is often necessary to enjoy life.
People in their 30s are often in the middle of career growth- their jobs tend to take over their lives which limit them in many areas.
They tend to remain in their work circle and often cannot meet new people or experience new things.
The stress of their arrears can also affect their relationships and their mental health which can often go unnoticed.
- Physical health
Another issue with this age group is that people tend to develop physical illnesses- they might notice that their body is not as fit as it used to be nor as resilient.
Chronic illnesses can impact a person’s ability to form quality relationships and the stress of being ill can impact their mental health
Coping with the challenges of being 30
Here are some things you can do and some changes you can make to help yourself cope with the challenges of being 30 and single.
Some of these strategies are also suggested to help you develop a healthy mental state.
Invest in positive relationships
Human beings are social beings and connection is a basic psychological need that must be met for someone to feel satisfied and experience a sense of well-being.
It is important that you build postive and supportive relationships with friends, family, and even romantic interests, if that is what you want.
Building relationships that help you grow, that motivate you, that care for you is an important part of growing into your age. They can help you adjust and help build a sense of resilience.
If you find yourself depressed, rather than withdrawing from others- making efforts to reach out to the ones you trust can help you figure out how to help yourself or they can help you when you can’t.
Be in the now
While you might be worried that you are in your 30s, the clock is thinking, the worry will not help you grow and flourish.
Being present in the now and allowing yourself to experience your day to day, your moment to moment can be a healthy way to engage with your life.
Taking things one day at a time and being deliberate with which moment of work, rest, fun, play, and even stressful moments can help ground you and also keep you away from the distress of the future or the past which can lead to anxiety and depression.
Don’t stop dating.
Even if you’re completely over dating at this point, don’t stop going on those first dates with promising people.
Continue to put yourself out there, even if it feels uncomfortable. Go out with people and be open to the experience.
It is only through these experiences that you can keep refining what you like and what you don’t. It will help you decide who is a good fit when you meet them.
Do things specific to your interests.
Engage yourself in activities and groups that you enjoy. DO not do it for someone else, do it for you.
Take part in conventions and events- no matter how silly- that are truely of your interest. By engaging in these activities that bring you joy and allow you to have fun, can help you develop a sense of well-being and purpose.
These activities can also be great places to meet new people and form new relationships, even help you develop new skills and learn more about yourself.
Don’t buy into cultural expectations
If you’re a woman, your sense of urgency is very likely linked to the cultural expectation that you should be married and a mother by now.
Though the pressures can get to you, don’t fall prey to it. Instead, focus on all you can do on your own. Allow yourself to focus on your career if it gives you meaning and joy.
Even if you choose to meet potential partners for a possible marriage, do it because you want to do it and not because society tells you to.
If you are a man, you are expected to settle down but if you are seeking more personal growth- career and emotional growth- give yourself time for it instead of seeking a partner to settle down with.
Define your goals.
It is important that at this age, you evaluate your attitudes, your values, and your goals. Taking the time to introspect on what it is that you truly want in life can help you stay clear of various stresses that people your age struggle with- unhappy marriages, unhappy career life, and dissatisfying relationships.
Define your goals that are realistic, doable, and goals that give you a sense of purpose and meaning. It is important that you are able to allow these goals to be made out of your own needs and wants rather than society’s standards.
Seek professional help
Now, if you notice that the lingering feeling of unhappiness is taking over the best parts of your life, it is time to consider seeking professional help.
Emotional distress can be a debilitating issue when it takes over your work, your daily life, and your relationships. It can develop into a full blown disorder such as depression and anxiety when there is no proper intervention.
Take the step to get the help you need by seeking out a professional mental health service provider or by paying your physician a visit. They can help you get the help you need.
In this article we have discussed the common experience of being single in your 30s and the emotional distress that might come with it. We have also discussed a few things you can do for yourself to help cope.
Frequently asked questions related to “30, single, and depressed”
Is it normal to feel lonely when single?
It is completely normal to feel lonely- whether when you are single and also when you are not. Being single can feel lonely at times, and loneliness isn’t always easy to manage.
Taking care of yourself when you feel lonely starts by asking yourself why and evaluating your own friendships and the things you do when it comes to tackling your current relationship status as a single person.
Is being single at 35 normal?
There is a large number of people who are in their thirties that are single and unmarried.
In recent years marriage timing has changed as compared to a few decades ago where it was more common to marry young.
Today’s population has more goals related to career and personal growth than getting married and starting a family.
Are single people more likely to have depression?
Research finds that single individuals were found to report higher levels of depression, anxiety, mood disorders, adjustment problems, and other forms of psychological distress, and a higher rate of alcohol-related problems while people who are married reports higher levels of well-being.
Does marital status affect depression?
Marital status is important to the epidemiology of psychiatric disorders- there is a high prevalence of major depression in individuals with separated, divorced, or widowed status which indicates that a person’s relationship and marital status does have some influence in a person’s mental well-being.
How do you cope being single?
Ways to cope with your singlehood includes:
- Work on Your Goals.
- Stop Comparing yourself to other people
- Invest in Other Relationships- family and friends
- Focus on the Benefits of being single and the freedom and independence you have.
- When you are comfortable with the idea, even if you do not feel emotionally ready, meet New People.