You could almost survive without ever leaving the house, nowadays. Amazon brings you toilet paper and tissues, free shipping abounds, and Postmates has your food covered (who likes doing dishes, anyways?).
But there’s evidence in theory, and from people who do it, that getting out of the house almost always makes depression and anxiety feel better.
Regardless of why you struggle to leave your comfort zone, it’s worth it to try. Here are questions you can ask yourself, and some perspective to motivate yourself.
Remember to avoid cognitive distortions and unhelpful thinking styles while trying this exercise. Answer the following for yourself:
If you were to go on a walk right now…
What might you see?
What interesting things might happen?
How might you feel once you get back home?
Try not to focus on worst-case scenarios or bad experiences from the past. Think of what genuinely could happen if you open yourself to your surroundings.
I used to play a kids’ game on the Nintendo Gamecube. It was called Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, and it taught me an important lesson.
In the game, you have responsibilities in keeping up your farm and your family, but there’s also a town full of neighbors and interesting sights.
It’s perfectly possible to play the game without going out much, but when you start leaving your ‘home’ at random times and talking to your neighbors, interesting things start happening.
Neighbors start visiting you and giving you useful items, you unlock entertaining events, and you see the tangible impact your friendships have on how your family evolves.
How does this connect to getting out of the house?
When we stay at home a lot, we come to think that the outside world will feel just as boring and routine, except less safe and comfortable.
A lot of us stay in the house even when we feel bored or stifled, just because we forget about all the things that could interest us out in the world.
We sometimes forget that the outside world is different from our home. You might think about getting yourself out of the house, only to decide against it because… it’s cozier and safer inside.
But that line of thinking ignores an important truth: that the outside world has a lot more to offer than home, and that comfort can be found outside of your ‘comfort zone.’
Hopefully all the possibilities make it easier to get your shoes on, your bag packed, and your butt out the door. You don’t have to stay out long, and you don’t have to interact much with the world. Just be yourself and see what happens.
If you want to debrief about your adventure, or if you still need an extra push to get yourself out of the house, feel free to enter your thoughts at Supportiv’s anonymous chat. People who get it will be there to talk, in less than a minute.