No parent is immune from feeling lonely at times. Whether married or single, loneliness is something you can battle from time-to-time. But when you are a single parent it can get very lonely doing everything on your own. Being both mother and father, whether you are a working or a stay-at-home mum, can be tough and have some lonely times. And this could be because we mostly parent in isolation these days. No longer is it normal to share parenting with family. We try do everything ourselves. Does this sound like you?
The old saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is true but the village can be hard to find today. And this can be much what causes parents’ loneliness. There is very little opportunity for adult interaction except at work. We talk about connecting with others, but it is not as easy as it used to be. The busyness of life and responsibilities often get in the way if you do not make new priorities. Occasional bouts of loneliness are fine, but if it becomes a habit it can affect your mental health.
Just because you are a parent does not mean you do not have needs. While it is commendable and noble that you sacrifice so much for your children, how you balance your life teaches them valuable life lessons.
Here’s some way to help you to combat and deal with loneliness and start building a village to support you.
Get out of the house
Get out of the house. Take a walk. Go shopping. Have a coffee at the local café and watch the world go by. It will stimulate your brain, so you feel refreshed, and is great for your imagination and overall health and wellbeing.
Join an informal support group
Join an informal support group. They are around. check out your local council and local area Facebook page. And, if you cannot find one, get together with other parents or mothers from your children’s day-care or school. Even enjoy spending time with some of the friends you made at prenatal class. Take it in turns visiting each other’s places for some adult support. Where you are geographically isolated, make the effort to join one of the many online groups.
Change your perception
Change your perception. Let go of the life you once had and of what you expected. Start building a new one full of adventure and goals to achieve. Everyone feels lonely at times. Married parents as well. As a single parent, there will be times you feel isolated from the rest of the world. The world is not as perfect as social media portrays it to be.
Pick up the phone
When loneliness overwhelms you, pick up the phone. Call someone you trust. Chat about what is happening in each other’s lives. Solve the problems of the world. Even share your feelings of loneliness. Just hearing a friendly voice can be enough to chase loneliness away.
Set up with two or three friends to be there as a support system any time day or night. This way you do not need to feel guilty or worry about calling them when you feel lonely. It also gives you more than one person to call when someone is not available.
Nothing lasts forever
Remember, nothing lasts forever. And, neither will feeing lonely. It is a passing emotion. Life is a series of highs and lows. It is normal. These are all a part of life’s challenges. Try to slow down. Enjoy those rare times alone. Loneliness does not last forever. Especially when you do something proactive to combat it.
Prioritise relationships with others
Prioritise your relationships with others, even though you may feel you do not have time. This is important for maintaining your identity. It is so easy to lose your identity as a mother. And do not use the excuse you do not have a babysitter or time. Organise one and make time to spend with friends and family.
Join Meetup and other groups
Join a Meetup group in your area. It does not have to be a parenting group. There are meetup groups for almost every interest you could have and more as well as support groups. Become part of other groups online. Enrol in a class. Join in with group discussions. Even take part in an online fitness challenge.
Pick up a good book
Pick up a good book and get lost in the story. In a world of fictional characters. Sure, they are not real people. But you will soon forget your loneliness when engrossed in a good book.
Reading does not have to be expensive. You can read a book at any time. Either invest in an e-reader for digital books or get a library card to borrow hard copy books from your local library. Bonus. You will get to know your local librarian which can ease your loneliness.
Get involved more with the kids. Join the Parents Teachers Association, help out on school sports days and any other activity that will bring you closer to the kids. It is also a great way to connect with other parents who may also feel lonely. You all have something in common such as the kids, activities and the issues at school. But if these are not an option, check out other places to volunteer your time. There are so many groups that need volunteers.
Nurture your relationships
Loneliness comes from feeling unsupported. Feeling that others do not care about you. But sharing and caring works two ways. You cannot always wait for others to reach out to you. Take the initiative. Nurture your relationships with family and friends. Make an effort to text or call. Set up a time for a movie or coffee together. And persist when you are met with resistance.
If you are a single parent, you can be so caught up with life that you may expect others to reach out to you. But it is important to make the effort to initiate contact. Do not be swayed by thinking someone is too busy or you do not want to disturb them. So, reaching out can make connecting easier for everyone.
Practice meditation to connect with yourself and the world around you. It is when you feel disconnected that loneliness creeps in. Research shows that people who enjoy social relationships are happier and can live up to 50% longer than those who shun social interaction. Other studies show being connected lowers depression and anxiety and promotes empathy and self-esteem.
While the best cure for loneliness is interacting with friends and family, meditation can connect you to everything. When you feel lonely and isolated from the world, the parietal lobe of your brain overheats. Practicing meditation keeps your parietal lobe cool, calm and collected. So, mastering meditation is a great solution.
Meditation heightens your awareness so you become more familiar with your feelings. It gives you an insight into what you feel and why. Meditating also makes you more comfortable with feeling lonely. It is a good alternative to always needing to stay busy.
Cut back time on social media
Social media has its good and bad points. The benefits are great, but the drawbacks can actually make you feel lonelier. All the posts of people having fun, achieving their goals and being offered opportunities are bound to make you feel lonely. And a little stressed, anxious and depressed. It can even make you feel insecure and wonder why you are only finding out on social media.
Do not give up social media altogether. Just take notice of how it makes you feel as you scroll through. If it causes you to feel lonely, anxious, depressed or any other negative feelings, it is time to cut back time on social media.
Take your brain on a date
Take your brain on a date. Yes, I know. It is not as weird as you think. Taking your brain on a date is simply doing something you enjoy focusing your energy into the present moment. There are so many simple things you can do. Go for a run or a walk. Go to a movie. Sit and watch a sunset or sunrise. Have coffee with friends. Take the time out to focus on something you enjoy each day.
Pursue a new passion
Find a new passion to pursue. Is there something you have always wished you had more time to do? The good thing about pursuing a passion is that the more you do it, the more you want to spend time doing it. So, it is a perfect solution to loneliness. It does not matter what it is. It could be photography so get out there and take photos. Or you have a love of art deco and collect pieces you love. Whatever it is, find your passion and pursue it.
We are here to help
Loneliness is common among parents and can become a problem if you let it takeover. It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if you are not proactive. It is a deceptive emotion that makes you feel as if you are alone even when you are not. With some simple changes to your life, you can let feelings of loneliness go. But if it has become a problem. Caused other mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, it is time to turn it around. Time to do something about it. Seek help. You do not have to go through it alone. The sooner you get help, the sooner things will improve.
If you are struggling, consider reaching out to our professionals. When you are not coping, contact us to discover how we aim to help get your life back on track. But if you reach a crisis point, call us immediately. We are here to help support you. We may help you deal with things quickly.
We can work with you over the phone, via Skype or in our Spas. Book in today for my Emotional Empowerment Program. I have an introductory offer for just $79 so you may start taking back control of your life. We aim to help you cope with any mental health challenges. Our facilitators may alleviate the effects of depression and anxiety, so you have more self-esteem and start to feel happy again.
Let me help alleviate the effects of mental health issues
My Emotional Empowerment Program has helped many people like you for more than a decade. My aim is to help you replace anxiety, stress and depression with a new hope for the future. A future filled with happiness, peace and contentment in weeks not years. Listen to what Sarah has to say about my program after only a few sessions.