Self-care and Loneliness

Firstly, being lonely whilst being part of an armed forces family is very common.  The entire set up of the military life can lead family members to feel lonely at times.  This can be felt more intensely when a loved one is deployed.

First steps;

  • Initially it can feel like an overwhelming wave of loneliness, so try to establish exactly which parts of your life you feel lonely in.
  • Does your loneliness increase when your partner is on deployment? Or is there a feeling of loneliness even when your family is all together?  Knowing the answer to these questions can prove extremely valuable when working out what you need.
  • Once you know the areas where you feel most lonely are there any social connections you could make yourself? For example if you are lonelier when your partner is away from home, can you arrange to meet other connections on the base for a weekly catch up (or more frequently if needed)?
  • Currently a lot of support would have to be online, so this really puts a block up, to feeling the presence of someone. That said, meeting on Zoom is far better than not meeting at all and it can provide some good links for when conditions allow face to face contact.  To simply do nothing means you are missing valuable time where relationships/friendships/networks can be made.
  • Are there any hobbies which you can get involved in that don’t require other people? This won’t make you friends, but what it will do is give you purpose and structure when you are feeling lonely.  If you have a good book or an online course to do, then this can really provide that feeling of connection.  A course will also give you hope for the future as the skills you are learning now could be used for something really important in the not too distant future.
  • Online courses are good because if you have children they can be completed in the evening when you may feel very lonely, especially with the long dark nights.
  • Journaling is an idea which can really allow you to explore what is going on for you.
  • If you feel alone it doesn’t mean you are unlovable or not worthy of love.
  • Try to avoid short-term fixes to how you are feeling, it can be very tempting to have a number of alcoholic drinks but ultimately in the long run these will not address your loneliness problem and in reality may make it worse.
  • Develop a stronger degree of self-love, this can be hard to do but accessing talking therapies or self-help books may help in this area. It may also allow you to establish the areas where you need help (mentioned at the beginning).