Dear Maria: Working From Home and Feeling Alone

Dear Maria, I hope this finds you well. I’m a 27 year old single guy. I’ve read a few articles from your column and I really like your advice. But my situation is pretty different. I don’t know if you specialize in this but I’m feeling like maybe I’m depressed? Like everybody else, I have been working from home because of the pandemic. It does make my work life easier because I love not having to get dressed every day – I have no fashion sense anyway. So now in 2022, I’ve been working from home for almost two years. Last year, I kind of enjoyed being home. Now, I think I’m just miserable. My biggest issue is sleeping; I am permanently tired. It doesn’t matter how much sleep I get, I’m just exhausted. My mom thinks it’s my diet (I’ve gained weight), but I don’t think that’s it. 

I think the difference is that last year all my friends were working from home too, so we would hang out sometimes during the day and work together or chat on FaceTime to make the day go quicker. Now everyone but me is backing the office. I guess I miss my daily train rides too, walking around Central Market, and just being outside.

Being super tired thing is starting to affect me outside of work too – I don’t really have the energy to hang out with anybody anymore and my friends feel like its for no reason, so they’re starting to get annoyed with me. I think I got the hang of being in my apartment all the time so well, that doing anything else feels weird. Should I see a therapist at this point?

 –  WFH and Feeling Alone

Hey WFH, this was super honest and I so appreciate you putting yourself out there like this. Men’s mental health is so important so thank you for being candid. To your question, I don’t “specialize” in much because I am nobody’s therapist but I’m a great friend and I religiously practice self care overall, which absolutely includes mental health. 

 I’ll want to start off by saying I hope you know you’re not alone. The peak of the pandemic really whooped some ass, and I think almost everyone would agree! I know most of us gained that COVID 15 lbs and we all got a little stir crazy during lockdown. I actually loved reading about your early pandemic experience because it was kind of nostalgic for me too at this point! I also spent a majority of my quarantine hanging with my close circle of friends and FTing everyone I knew. It made stuff feel a little less heavy with everything going on. I also am fully remote so I get sick of seeing my four walls all the time as well. That said, I have challenged myself to go out for a walk daily, even if it’s just to look in the window of my favorite bakery and see what they have out for the day. Maybe some forced destination could work for you just to get some fresh air, sunlight, and exercise. It’s all a win/win. 

The exhaustion/fatigue is REAL, and it’s also a common sign of depression. Again, getting outside and getting some vitamins and exercise could really boost your energy. We have to keep in mind that our bodies are forever changing, so the energy and response you had to a routine two years ago can very easily have changed. 

Whether you actually may be experiencing depression or not, I always recommend considering therapy. Therapy is not only for the difficult times in life, but it’s a phenomenal practice to understand your feelings and emotions, even when things are good. Therapy looks different for each person. Some people speak to a therapist weekly, and some every few months; it’s honestly about whatever works for you. There are plenty of apps that are also helpful before taking that step. I personally use the Headspace and Calm apps to help me meditate and stay mindful. I also use a more holistic approach during my self care routines which include crystals and sage; I even have a Zen garden. It could be fun for you to explore new ways to focus your mind and spirit. Talkspace and Betterhelp are a more modern approach to therapy right in your fingertips from an interactive app. They also take away that awkward feeling of meeting up with a stranger to discuss your deepest emotions. I strongly consider checking all of these apps out. Lastly, if you’re still looking for more symptoms or signs of depression here are some links that also have specifics for men. Forward them to your family & friends as well, as they can be helpful in identifying if they are observing some of these behaviors from you. 

I’m not sure where you’re located but if you were in NYC, I’d invite you for a nice walk and a smoothie since I’m trapped at home as well! Keep your spirits up, I’m sure this feeling will pass. Just try and practice prioritizing things that make you happy – and definitely don’t be afraid to give therapy a try. 




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