Feeling lonely and depressed after divorce or being widowed is not uncommon. No longer being part of a couple is life altering.
You take it for granted that friends and relatives will be there for you. But after a while they drift back to their own lives and concerns and you’re left feeling disconnected and lonely.
Not only have you lost your partner but it feels like you’re losing your friends and community.
How will you move through loneliness, rebuild your community and find your tribe?
Don’t want to scare you but….
Loneliness is bad for your health. According to Dr. Vivek Murthy, former US Surgeon General, “loneliness and isolation are a threat to your health and well-being.”
Strong social bonds are keys to happiness and health.
Loneliness drains vitality, diminishes motivation and interferes with ever day life enjoyment. It may feel safer being home alone but that won’t help you deal with being lonely.
Check out the Unlonely Project: https://artandhealing.org/category/unlonely-project/
Whether you’re divorced or widowed, loss of a partner is a crisis. You ask yourself, “Who am I now that I’m not part of a couple?”
Learning how to be single again is a journey. But eventually you need to move on and decide how you want to live your life. It takes courage to reach out when you’re vulnerable and unsure but you can do it!
Thriving through connection
Women grow and thrive through connection. Being connected, having a sense of belonging, decreases stress and improves self-esteem.
Growth happens when you step out of your comfort zone. But it helps to have a sense of what you want to step into.
Remember, being alone and being lonely are two different things. You can enjoy your alone time and space doing things you enjoy and not be lonely.
But, if you are lonely, it’s time to do something about it!
Finding your tribe
In her book Braving the Wilderness, the Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, Brene Brown says “Belonging is being accepted for you.”
You know that you’ve found your tribe when you’re with like-minded people who share your interests and values. You intuitively know that you belong.
But who is your tribe and how do you find them? It takes initiative to find them but wouldn’t it be worth it? After all, you’re life is waiting and you’re the only one who can create it.
Exploring new interests or revisiting old ones is a great way to get started. Maybe you loved dabbling with paints but you haven’t picked up a brush in years. Why not take a class, pick up that brush and meet others who are coming back to art?
Taking the first step takes courage but it’s worth it. What’s the worst that can happen?
Need help finding your tribe?
- What’s important to you? What do you value?
- What talents and skills would you like to develop?
- What would you like to learn?
- What kinds of people do you enjoy being around?
- What individuals or groups do you want to connect with?
- Who can help you make that happen?
- What can you contribute and where can you do that?
- Join a support group
- Take an adult ed class
- Join a church or synagogue
- Join a library book club
- Re-connect with old friends
- Search the internet for activities and events in your community
Reaching out, asking for help are often the first steps to begin re-building your life. You’ll find people who want to connect and support you. Don’t let fear get in the way.
And don’t assume that because friends are not reaching out, it means they don’t care. They just may not know what you need or how to support you. Take the first step. You may be pleasantly surprised.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anais Win
Would love to hear from you. Have you dealt with loneliness after being divorced or widowed? Please share with someone you know who could benefit from this article.