CLEVELAND — While so many people have been separated during the pandemic, those of us who have been able to be around our loved ones may feel lucky. But being surrounded by others all hours of the day can actually be really taxing, according to a psychologist.

What You Need To Know

  • While some people are experiencing loneliness during the pandemic, others are dealing with the exact opposite

  • A psychologist said there's a big difference between loneliness and needing alone time

  • There are benefits to having alone time, but how much you need is dependent on your life style

Cleveland Clinic Psychologist Dr. Susan Albers is stressing the importance of alone time, but how much you may need to feel rejuvenated varies from person to person.

“It all boils down to how we are wired. Introverts are wired to be more sensitive to dopamine, and dopamine is that pleasurable feel-good chemical in the brain. Extroverts are not as sensitive to it so they're out seeking more of it. And that creates a difference in how much time we like to spend with other people for introverts, they feel taxed when they're with people, too often and don't get time to retreat and have some time alone. Extroverts on the other hand still need alone time, but less of it, to really feel rejuvenated," Albers said.

However, Albers said there's a big difference between being alone and loneliness.

“These are two very different things. Being alone is that physical act of having some space and some boundaries some time to yourself. Loneliness is a feeling. It is being disconnected from others. You can be in a large room of people and still feel very alone," Albers said.

She said sometimes we wait until we feel burnt out to realize our need for alone time and there are some big indicators that you need to take some time to yourself.

"When you feel irritable or snappy at your significant other, you find that you are hiding from other people, or ignoring your phone, and in the extreme, maybe feeling overwhelmed or depressed stays back from some of your responsibilities. These are all signs that you could use some time to yourself.”

Albers suggests having a conversation with your significant other or family members about your needs, and how much alone time feels right for you and your mental health.

"Unfortunately, sometimes a significant other can see the need for alone time as being a rejection or abandonment, and this is not the case. Reassure your significant other that some solo time is not emotional distance, but really some time to regroup," Albers said.

Albers said if you are someone who feels guilty about alone time, reframe it. This is a time to rejuvenate yourself and build mental strength, productivity and creativity.