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Dr. Shoshana Bennett

Shoshana Bennett Ph.D.

Cocooning When Depressed

Cocooning is self-nurturing.

One of the most common symptoms of depression is feeling alone. Interesting, since it's also quite usual for a depressed person to isolate herself - she often doesn't have the energy or motivation to answer emails or phone calls or to attend social events.

Although it can sometimes be helpful to make yourself social, at other times it's better to do what I call "cocooning."

Cocooning is self-nurturing, which may look different to each person and change frequently. Maybe one time it's wrapping yourself in a blanket by the fire, drinking something warm and watching a movie. Another time it might be sitting outside under a tree reading a novel. For many women I work with it's a hot bath with soothing music in the background.

Well-meaning loved ones may encourage or even demand that you join them at the neighbor's party or another social function, believing that this will help you feel better. Don't ever be pressured into going if it's not right for you, since pushing yourself may backfire and make you feel even more depressed. There's a simple way you can gauge whether or not to go out.

Ask yourself, "Will I feel better if I could get dressed and go to the party?" If the answer is yes, ask someone to help you get ready if you require it. If your answer is no because it feels too overwhelming or stressful, you should stay home and cocoon.

Choose what's healthiest for you. The answer may be different each time an occasion arises, so listen to your intuition and feel good about tuning in to what would be best for you.