Hibernating from the world
I can ‘hibernate’ along with the best of them. Hibernating from the world is safe. When you don’t feel at your best or feel that life is a little overwhelming, finding a quiet place away from others can be comforting. A place to gather your thoughts and get strong again before facing others. Hibernating keeps us safe from judgement and allows us privacy from others seeing our vulnerabilities.
In some ways though, it is sad that we feel we have to keep up appearances and show a together, confident front. The irony of this is that the more we hide from others, the more taboo it is to reveal that we don’t cope at times. If everyone was more open about the fact that they were struggling and in ‘hibernation’ mode, it might make hibernating more acceptable. I reckon social media sites like Facebook and Skype should have a “in hibernation” option.
Hibernating from the world is actually a very common way to cope with stress. No one admits to it though so we can often feel as if we are the only ones opting out from life. This can cause us to feel guilty and even worse about ourselves. Inevitably we compare ourselves to the imaginary other – those people that we assume are always out and about and facing life head on…and here we are hiding under the duvet, avoiding life.
Human hibernation is also being inadvertently encouraged by the internet. We can still be productive whilst in our pyjamas, alone at home. We can still tweet and make an appearance on Facebook. All of these actions give the appearance of someone who is ‘up and running’ and dealing with life. The true picture is that there are millions of people who spend considerable time alone. Some do it our of choice, many don’t.
For those that don’t, there is the danger of the cycle becoming habitual. I speak from experience here, as I know when I hide from the world, I find it harder to leave the house and become even more reclusive. Even if it’s only for a few days, it becomes comfortable to stay indoors. I have to make an effort to get out and see friends.
Thankfully, I also see clients at home and this maintains structure for me too and means I am regularly seeing others and interacting socially. An ever increasing number of people are socialising, shopping and working alone at home. If this is you, make a regular effort to get out and see people in order to avoid the rut of hibernating from the world. It can become addictive and it’s not entirely healthy…