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Tackling Loneliness

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

A lone red flower blooming in a garden against a backdrop of winter rain.

I’ve been thinking about the issue of loneliness that we often experience as caregivers. The U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently released a report saying that loneliness and social isolation are more widespread than smoking, diabetes, and obesity, and are just as dangerous to overall health and longevity. A lonely or isolated person is at a greater risk of heart disease, stroke, depression, dementia, and premature death, according to the report. The demands of caregiving often leave little time for social interactions and personal activities. This can lead to feelings of isolation and a lack of support, which can affect your mental health. And there is also loneliness caused when we feel that friends and family don't understand what we're going through, especially when we're dealing with the challenges of debilitating illnesses that aren't well understood, such as ME/CFS/Long COVID.

Here are some practical tips to help you tackle loneliness:

  1. Reach out for support. Talk to friends, family, or support groups (like ours!) who understand what you're going through. Sharing your challenges and emotions can provide much-needed relief and support.

  2. Prioritize self-care. Make time for yourself, engage in hobbies, exercise, meditate, practice mindfulness, take a walk in nature, or listen to music that lifts you up. Taking care of yourself is essential.

  3. Explore ways to delegate or outsource chores. Ideally, this can allow you to take a break and use the time to recharge and engage in activities you enjoy.

  4. Leverage technology. Use video calls, texting, and online support groups to stay connected with loved ones and find companionship.

  5. Seek professional help if needed. Don't hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional for guidance and support.

Remember, you're not alone. We appreciate your hard work and sacrifices. Prioritize your well-being and reach out to other caregivers for support. Come to our support group meetings. Together, we can conquer loneliness and navigate caregiving with resilience.


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