Friday, February 18, 2011

Single Parents and Loneliness

For those who have made the decision to be single, many will discover that loneliness is a constant companion. For others, loneliness may not be a factor. What can you do to avoid feeling lonely when you are a single parent?

After the children are in bed is when you many may feel the pangs of loneliness. But when it's peaceful and quiet may be the perfect time to put this alone time to good advantage. Now may be the opportunity to take up a hobby, explore interests that you have previously put on the back burner, take an online course to further your education, take a night school course and learn something fun while you're meeting new people, call a friend to talk or invite a friend over for coffee. Stay connected with family and friends because it's important to build a support network to call when loneliness does whisper in your ear.

Other loneliness fighters are spending time in nature. It's also a great stress reliever. Take the children to the playground, the zoo or the water park and talk to other parents. Do volunteer work because if you're doing something for other people, you won't be thinking about yourself, and the bonus is, you'll be meeting other single parents. Go to the gym. A good workout helps everyone's state of mind. When meeting people be outgoing and put a smile on your face. The majority of people will not ignore a smile and a friendly face. Initiate conversations, many people are shy about doing this. All of these things will not only help you meet new people but will increase your self-esteem and confidence. Do not wallow in self-pity – it's a complete waste of time.

There are also many singles social groups available both online and in your community where people organize outings like hikes, bowling, movies, potlucks and trips. Everyone will be in the same position as you are. Or organize your own group with single friends.

The secret I found to not being lonely was being busy and having a purpose in my life. When I was single and raising five children on my own, I was too busy to think about being lonely. Who can be with so many children and their friends around? This time alone with your children is a good opportunity to enjoy them and you may find, as I did, that when they grow older, they will be some of your best friends.

Loneliness to me is abstract. It's a feeling, not something you can put your finger on. And as a feeling, I believe it can be changed to a belief in your own abilities, strengths and what you are capable of doing. When your life is full, you will have too much happening to be lonely. By doing this, you may find that loneliness becomes something you never think of, because you don't have time.

Loneliness does happen to many people but there are ways to avoid its grasping tentacles by being open, approachable, friendly and busy. And spending time with your children will give your life purpose. And both they and you will benefit.

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