Overcoming loneliness & isolation
Loneliness and isolation are common for those caring for loved ones. At FamilyCarersNet we aim to support those in a caring role and help to combat those who are feeling isolated and alone. Whether you’re caring for a child, parent or perhaps a friend it can be all consuming giving you little time for yourself.
First of all, it’s important to recognise that this is not uncommon, and the feelings of guilt that may surround your emotions are completely normal. Wanting to connect with others and regain some sense of self is nothing to be ashamed of, and is not a negative reflection on your ability to provide care for someone else. It is true that you cannot pour from an empty cup – and by being kind to yourself and allowing yourself to reach out you are only strengthening your capabilities.
When you are dealing with feeling alone or isolated from the rest of the world it can feel impossible to break away from your routine to find new friends, reach out to old ones and connect with others. You may feel like you are unable to take time to focus on yourself and your own relationships but we want to show you how you can manage looking after yourself alongside taking care of someone else.
Common emotions and indicators of loneliness and isolation can include, but are not limited to: stress, depression, guilt, anger and frustration. You may have been through relationship breakdowns as a result of your caring role or felt that your interactions with others have been affected.
Ways to combat isolation
Keep in touch – don’t be afraid of reconnecting with friends and family members. It is
possible that they have felt unable to reach out to you, but it isn’t always impossible to repair damaged connections and by making contact you can begin rebuilding relationships with those around you.
Be kind to yourself – admitting that you feel isolated can be a relief in itself, and is the first step to combatting it. Allow yourself to go through the emotions and don’t be afraid to put yourself first sometimes.
Speak to someone – you may feel that you need to speak through your feelings and concerns with someone who understands. Visit The Pod* to access peer to peer and professional support, as well as invaluable information and advice.
Connect with others in the same position – you can register with us and access peer to peer support via The Pod on our website. Speaking with others in the same or a similar situation to you can help to ease the feeling of being alone as well as offering friendship, connection and support.
Take a break – sometimes it’s necessary to take a break from your role, and short breaks and respite are available to offer you some time to yourself. You may be eligible for a short break and can register for self assessment through the provider. You may be able to find out more through your local council or directly via the providers website.
Find local groups and support networks – there are groups, meet ups and events available to those in a caring role which you can attend either with the person you’re caring for or by yourself. These give you a chance to relax and spend time with others who also care for someone, and also access support from advisors and professionals who can answer your questions or just be there if you need a chat.