Through the divorce process it seems every emotion is amplified. You're wound too tight and every nerve in your body is just waiting for the next big thing to occur. A minor hiccup in your day becomes a life-changing dramatic scene. You get angry about the smallest things and you cry at the drop of a hat. And that's normal.
Before the separation you were likely grateful for the kids to be out with dad and a little time alone in the house. But now, when the kids are gone for the weekend with dad, the silence becomes deafening. It's almost as if all of the energy has been drained from your home, and you can feel the loneliness seep into your bones.
Where "alone" is just the physical state of being by yourself, "loneliness" is the emotional state where you feel isolated and disconnected from others and yourself. Loneliness can lead to a freefall of negative habits along with mental and physical health issues. And it too is amplified during separation and divorce.
Often in the state of loneliness we tend to become withdrawn, pulling back from people and activities. We self-soothe with food or alcohol or shopping. We binge-watch shows and scroll for hours on social media, watching other peoples lives fill our screens. We sleep too much and move too little. It can lead to anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. It can lead to obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease. In the end, it's not healthy!
But there are ways to overcome loneliness, but it will take some effort on your part.
1) Utilize that alone time to do the inner work.
Build a connection with yourself. Work to figure out "why" you feel "lonely", and not just "alone". Be curious, be vulnerable and get comfortable being uncomfortable in that space. You can do this through journaling or meditating. But allow those feelings to bubble to the surface and actually take time to feel them, letting them flow through, not press them back down for later. Those repressed feelings always seem to surface at the most inopportune times.
2) Take action.
Do what you love. Try something new. You want to learn to dance? Take a class. You love to read? Join a book club. You want to start your own business? Attend a networking group. You can't wait for the invitations and opportunities to come to you, you have to take action to make it happen. Yes, it may be stepping out into something new and scary, but nothing grows in the comfort zone.
3) Do it solo.
Dress up and take yourself out. Solo date night. Solo travel. Solo activities. Doing the inner work to reconnect with yourself allows you to do all of this with more comfort and ease. Step out of what you think life has to look like, with a partner or friends, and enjoy the time with yourself.
Where do YOU want to go to dinner? Where do YOU want to travel? What do YOU want to do? Beginning to reframe your questions with "you" as the focal point brings a new perspective. This is such a great time to explore what YOU want out of life.
4) Meet people
Whether this is a reconnection with old friends or family, or new connections through new activities, connect with people and create new relationships. For a time I reconnected with an old friend or connected an acquaintance outside of my inner circle for coffee or lunch once a month. It was a great way to form or strengthen these bonds. We can't always wait for the invitation to come to us, sometimes we need to extend the invitation ourselves.
5) Create new routines
Creating new routines around your new life can give you a boost of energy. You don't have to rely on what has been, you are becoming a new version of yourself that needs new habits and routines to grow her into what she is becoming. Those old habits die hard, so creating new ones may be difficult, but you are worth it.
This is a great time to create a new morning or evening routine, ones that compliment your new life. It's a great time to create exercise and food habits that sustain a healthy lifestyle for you and the kids. These will build energy, release tension and bring clear thinking. It brings structure into your life and will help combat the loneliness by having a plan and methodology to stick to.
All of these bring more self-confidence and more resilience into your life as a divorced woman and single mom. Combat loneliness and bring about change in your life so that you craft a life you love, whether you walk forward alone or with others.