Loneliness is something that you might think you should expect to experience as a caregiver, especially as your senior’s needs grow. But loneliness is not healthy, nor is it something that you have to just accept.
Name Loneliness for What it Is
Acknowledging loneliness and calling it by its true name helps you to find solutions a little more quickly. If your go-to response when you’re experiencing unnamed loneliness is that you’re just a little bit tired or you’ve just been busy lately, you’re not going to get the solutions that you really need.
Look at the Habits that Contribute to Loneliness
What are you doing that allows you to keep experiencing loneliness? You might be over-committing yourself or shutting out the people who care about you. Examining those habits with an open mind allows you to recognize which ones aren’t serving you well.
Start Developing a Plan for Managing How You’re Feeling
Giving yourself an intentional plan to deal with how you’re feeling is important. It gives you steps that you know you want to follow in order to make these changes. Start out small and simple. You can get more complicated with your plan later. You’re trying to break habits that you’ve had in place for a while.
Try Reaching Out More Often
Caregivers have a bad habit of not reaching out in the same way that they used to. You might feel as if no one understands or that people don’t really care. This isn’t necessarily true, but it’s easy to believe that. Try reaching out a little more often to the people in your life. You don’t have to share things you’re not comfortable sharing, but try letting them know that you do need a shoulder.
Use the Tools You Have
Not all of the people that you care about live in the same area as you. Or you might find that it’s tough to find a caregiver support group in your area. Use the Internet, your phone, and your email address to connect with people. This lets you have a little more control over the timing of your connections.
Battling the loneliness that you’re feeling as a caregiver is part of self-care. It’s also something that you’re likely going to have to deal with more than once during your time as a caregiver. It’s a constant process rather than a “one and done” sort of situation.