Staying in my room all day: is it depression?
In this guide we are going to discuss “Staying in my room all day: is it depression?”. We are going to take a close look at how isolation impacts mental health and what you can do to cope.
Is staying in my room all day a sign of depression?
Staying in your room all day cannot be a lone criteria to distinguish whether you are depressed or not.
However this behaviour can become a problem is it is impacting various areas of your life like:
- Your health
- Your relationships
- Your work or school responsibilities
- Your safety
Especially if this behaviour has been going on for more than two weeks, it could be an indication that you have emotional distress- which also could be because of depression- that is causing you to stay in your room all day.
Sometimes our lives become too overwhelming- too many assignments, a tough day at work, misunderstanding between friends, and even disagreements with our family.
There are many experiences in our lives that can make us want to take a break, create some distance from the rest of the world, and breathe in a space that is our own.
For most of us our rooms are safe spaces for us to relax, take a moment to pause, rest, and most importantly, to be ourselves. It is where we let down our guards and let ourselves embrace (as much as we can) both the good and the not so great parts of who we are.
While self-isolation and staying at home has become the norm, it has not been an easy change for most of us. Staying alone and apart from your larger social circle, no matter how much of an introvert you are, would have been challenging.
While taking a break from the simulating world outside by taking a nap, relating, resting, reading a book, or doodling in your room can give you that much needed moment of respite, there is a fine line between taking a mindful moment of rest in the privacy of your room versus withdrawing and isolating yourself from people and the world.
Let us take a look at some of the risks of staying indoors and how it can affect you physically and mentally.
Risks related to physical health
When it comes to the risks of staying indoors for too long with respect to physical health, we have multiple studies that highlight that staying indoors greatly affects our natural cycles called the Circadian cycle which regulates our sleep and wake hours.
The circadian cycle is calibrated by the body’s exposures to the sun.It can influence important functions in our bodies, such as:
- Hormone release
- Eating habits and digestion
- Body temperature
- Mood and energy levels
Research finds that Disruption of this cycle is related to slower cognitive processes, obesity, substance abuse, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
Staying indoors for too long can also lead us to breathe in suboptimal air as research finds that air indoors is as polluted as air outdoors.
This could be caused by environmental factors such as dampness, mold, cleanliness, and other materials inside the home which has a particularly profound impact on our physical health.
If your lifestyle does not allow moment and exercise in your routine, while you stay in your room all day, physical health related problems you might face also include cardiovascular diseases, obesity, weakness and fatigue, and low stamina.
Risks related mental health
Research has also found that staying indoors for too long can have a profound impact on your mental health.
A study investigating 2,392 individuals, staying indoors for an average of 14 consecutive days, without a previous history of mental illness, were found to have developed varying mental health issues- including depression, sleep disturbance, irritability, and decreased libido.
The study found that disrupted sleep cycles, lack of social connection, and reduced activity were factors that may have impacted their mental health.
The experience of isolation by staying in your room all day can also cause increased time spent ruminating over issues related to body image, self esteem, and can cause emotional distress.
Impaired executive function, accelerated cognitive decline were also connected to isolation for extended periods of time by another study that aimed to review the effects of perceived social isolation across the lifespan.
Are you taking a break or are you depressed?
To answer the question of whether your desire to stay in your room the entire day is a symptom of possible depression, let us take a closer look at what depression is.
Depression is a deadly mood disorder that impacts your emotion, cognitions, and behaviour to debilitating degrees, often negatively affecting your quality of life and causing dysfunction.
Depression is diagnosed when it’s symptoms persist for more than two weeks and causes the afflicted individual to be unable to work, manage their social relationships and meet the demands of their daily lives.
Some of the symptoms of depression include:
- Low or depressed moods
- Thoughts related to suicide or death
- Worthlessness and hopelessness
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Disrupted sleep and diet
- And in extreme cases hallucinations and delusions
Social withdrawal and isolation can often include pushing people away, avoiding people, avoiding social situations, and taking immense effort to close yourself off to other people.
This can include staying in your room all day to avoid family, friends, and other people in general.
If you have been isolating yourself for more than two weeks and your behaviour and thought patterns also meet at least four or five of those mentioned above, you might be struggling with depression.
Tips to help you cope if you stay in your room all day:
Please be kind
We have all been there at one point in our lives. The dread of having to face the demands of our lives can be overwhelming and it is more common than we think.
Because we are all individuals with unique life experiences and realistis, there is no one way to help you overcome the challenges you face- even if the challenge is getting out of bed.
However, there is one thing you can start with. Be kind to yourself.
Self compassion is something we often forget to do. We empathize and bend over backwards for others but we often overlook ourselves. If you are finding it extremely hard to get out of bed, do not judge yourself for having a hard time.
The reality is you are having a hard time and that’s all it is. You not being able to get out of bed doesn’t mean you have failed as a human being or that you are good for nothing.
Much like a person who is physically ill and unable to climb a mountain, take time to be compassionate enough to give yourself the unconditional love you need at this difficult time.
One step at a time
If you feel the need to step out of your room and get your life moving, take it one step at a time. While it can be tempting to give into the sudden desire to conquer the world, taking time to be mindful of what you can do and can’t do can be a great way to be self-compassionate.
Maybe start with getting out of bed today, then maybe tomorrow you can get out of bed and head to the bathroom to refresh yourself. Then the next day, you can open the door just a creak and the next, take a peep.
The intent here is to not overwhelm you with the world outside but rather get you comfortable with the here and now by making the act of going out a conscious choice made on your terms.
Attending to your needs
We human beings have needs- be it food, shelter, social relationships, our needs drive us and motivate us. When these needs are not met, it can impact your life to a great extent.
It is hard to even consider eating food or taking care of your hygiene when you don’t have the energy to do anything, let alone go outside.
However, being kind to yourself is attending to what your body needs. Eating a meal can be an act of taking care of this body that takes care of you even if one days you do not like yourself very much.
While you do not have to overstretch yourself, taking care of your basic needs by doing small things like allowing yourself to go to the kitchen to grab a meal, a snack, a fruit even can be a step closer to coping with the larger struggle.
Start with a stretch!
Exercise. Yes, exercise. You do not have to leave your room, you do not even have to leave your bed to get yourself some exercise.
It can start with a simple stretch on your bed like raising your arms and reaching down to your toes, it can also be giving yourself a moment to breathe deeply.
You can move on to the floor and try out some soothing yoga, nothing too difficult though.
The intent here is to get yourself moving, even if it is only a little bit because exercise can release good feeling chemicals in your brain that can improve your mood and sense of wellbeing.
One person is all you need
As hard as it is, reach out to one person to tell them how you feel. It can be your friend on social media, it can be your sibling, it can be your parents, or it can even be a professional mental health service provider- like a therapist or a counsellor.
The intent is to seek support- even if it is only a listening ear- from someone who you trust. It can be scary, talking about what you are struggling with, you might even be ashamed however as discussed, this particular problem is very common.
If you find yourself with no social support, no one who will understand you, or if you do not understand this situation yourself- seek out professional help. They can help you make sense of the situation and if you are depressed, they can help you manage the symptoms and even help you improve your quality of life
In this guide we discussed how staying indoors can affect us- physically and mentally. We also discussed if your desire to stay in your room all day is related to depression and some tips that can help you cope.
Frequently asked questions related to “When staying in my room all day becomes depression”
Is it bad to stay in your room all day?
Staying indoors all day may cause problems related to your physical and mental health because of lack of exposure to sunlight that is necessary for normal sleep and wake cycles. You might struggle with negative thoughts and low moods that can impact your mental health.
How do I not stay in my room all day?
Whether you’re feeling extremely sleepy or having trouble with fatigue, one of these strategies may help you.
- Find an accountability partner to help you go out at least once.
- Rely on a furry friend, a dog to take for a walk
- Take short walks even if it is to your front door
- Bribe yourself with good experiences like getting an ice cream
- Turn on music while you go out, it also keeps social interaction to a minimum.
Why do I never want to leave my room?
The most probable reason why you do not want to leave your room could be because there is something holding you back- it could be past negative experiences when you were outside, it could be your thoughts and fears of being judged, it could also be your desire to withdraw from people in general.
Can you go crazy from staying inside?
While staying inside for to long does not cause someone to go “crazy” it can cause a decline in your mental health which impact your behaviours and thoughts- you might become extremely irritable, sad, and might even experience delusions.
All of which to ill-informed people might be seen as “going crazy”.
Does staying indoors cause depression?
Research shows that extended stay at home periods can lead to depression due to less exercise and movement, less social interactions, more time ruminating, and less sense of purpose.