Deana moved into her mother’s home shortly after the older woman was diagnosed with dementia. Deana was grateful that she had a job that allowed her to work from home while still caring for her mom.

Although she was a full-time caretaker to her mom, Deana still maintained her independence…until the day she came home to discover her mother had left the stove on and started watching TV. Her mom wasn’t harmed but the thought of what could have happened haunted Deana.

Since she couldn’t afford an in-home nurse, Deana stayed with her mother constantly. She didn’t mind caring for her aging parent.

But like many caregivers, Deana discovering that even short periods of isolation can take a toll on a person.

What is Loneliness?

Loneliness is a form of emotional pain. It may signify you need to connect with others around you. Being part of a community and longing for support are natural feelings. When you don’t have these experiences, you can feel lonely and abandoned.

Humans are hard-wired with a need for community. We need to connect with each other for encouragement, validation, and love. But sometimes your circumstances can make it difficult for you to experience community.

What Triggers Feelings of Loneliness?

When you’re feeling lonely, it’s important that you stop and ask yourself what triggered the feeling. Maybe there was a commercial on TV about a family spending the holidays together but you know your ex will have the kids for Christmas.

Another common trigger of loneliness can be social media. For example, Deana signed into Instagram and saw several of her friends traveling together. This reminded Deana of how much fun it was to have a girl’s night out with her best friends.

It’s important to remember that things like TV commercials, sweet movies, and Instagram selfies rarely tell the whole story. What you see is often just a quick glimpse into a friend’s life or it’s simply an actor’s job.

What are You Longing For?

The next time you feel lonely, pause to ask yourself what you’re longing for. It can be helpful to define what you feel like you’re missing. Sometimes, you may be aching for physical contact like hugs and cuddles. Sometimes, you may want the reassurance and support that comes from sharing a new idea with a loved one.

For Deana, she realized that she missed having regular conversations with others. Even though she knew her mom was affected by dementia, Deana started having conversations with like she would a good friend.

When you’re feeling lonely, it’s OK to admit it. But don’t stop there. Go on to create a plan that you can put into motion to overcome your loneliness.