Feeling lonely as a parent is more common than you might think.
When you really think about it, parenthood is socially isolating. You give every moment of your time to your kids, but take little time for yourself or your relationships.
You might be able to distract yourself from your own isolation for a while, especially if you have a busy schedule.
But, eventually, those feelings can catch up with you.
Unfortunately, isolation and loneliness can be dangerous. They can negatively impact your mental health, increase your risk of illness, and even lower your mortality rate.
So, what can you do when you feel lonely and isolated as a parent?
Get Out as Often as Possible—For Yourself
If the only time you leave your house is to take the kids to school or extracurricular activities, it’s time to make a change.
Even if it’s just to run errands, make an effort to get out of the house as often as possible. Don’t buy groceries online and don’t let subscription services handle everything for you. Are they more convenient? Yes. But, getting out of the house and simply being around other people can make you feel less isolated.
Additionally, make time to get out without an agenda.
Go for a walk around your neighborhood each day. Or, if you have the time, join a gym or an exercise class. Even if you don’t necessarily strike up a conversation with anyone, that feeling of “me” time while being surrounded by others can make a big difference.
Find Your Support System
If there’s a benefit to living in this technology-driven society, it’s that it is easier than ever to connect with people.
Maybe you don’t have the time or energy to get together with a group of friends a few times a week, but you still desire social connection and interaction.
One of the best ways to achieve that is through support groups online. There are plenty of parents in your position. Talking to them about your struggles and what you might be feeling will help. Hearing their own stories will be even more beneficial.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t connect in person with family members and friends as frequently as possible. Make sure they know your concerns and what you’re dealing with. You’ll quickly be reminded that there are people in your life who really care about you.
Talk to Your Partner
If you’re married or live with your partner, talk to them about your loneliness.
That doesn’t mean you should play the “blame game” or talk about your situation being unfair. Chances are, your partner probably doesn’t know that you’re struggling.
Don’t be afraid to confide in them. Expressing your feelings and emotions is a good place to start, but don’t stop there. Tell them what you need and don’t feel guilty or selfish about it. They are parents, too, and if they need to take on more by letting you have some free time, that’s exactly what they should do.
If you’ve been hesitant to talk to your partner about it, it’s time to speak up. Your mental health could be in jeopardy the longer you struggle with loneliness. Chances are, they will be happy to help and do whatever you need from them. Remember, you’re on the same team.
As ironic as it may sound, if you’re a parent struggling with loneliness—you’re not alone.
But, your feelings are valid, and it’s normal to feel you’ve given away a piece of your life that you want back. Keep these ideas in mind to fight back against isolation and the negative feelings that go with it.
If you are struggling with the isolation and loneliness that can come with parenting, feel free to contact me. Together, we’ll work through your feelings and strategies to take care of your mental health as you move forward.
Click here to learn more about depression therapy services in Delray Beach, FL and Sandy Springs, GA.