Isolation, whether physical or emotional, can be a lonely place. Sometimes we become isolated by choice, and other times, we are forced into isolation by our circumstances. When this happens, it’s important to make some changes so we don’t lose our minds! I have known people who have isolated themselves socially. They have become angry, negative and suspicious of everyone and everything. It’s incredibly unhealthy.
For the last few months, I have found myself becoming more and more isolated because of circumstances. I think women have a tendency to do this more than men, because we take on so many roles and feel responsible for everyone’s happiness and well being. We are care givers by nature, so we put our needs and wants after those we care about. I don’t like being a burden, nor do I like having anyone worry about or pity me, but sometimes we need someone to take care of us, and consider our needs. Between work, studying, being sick, going to doctor appointments, having medical tests, commuting, shopping for groceries, cooking dinner, and trying to pay bills on a teacher’s salary, I will admit, I have neglected to take the time to do things I enjoy. It’s something I’ve struggled with my entire adult life, especially after I became a mother. Al has been able to go to New York to see his mother and family, and last weekend he was in Miami with a couple of friends while I waited out Hurricane Nate with the dog. Just to be clear, these trips were compliments of his family and friends, so it wasn’t like we were footing the bill for it. If we could afford it, I would be making sure to take a trip here and there too, and make sure we have time for trips together!
I’ve never been one to take a spa day….it’s not really my thing. I will get an occasional pedicure, but can’t stand manicures (it’s a creepy feeling). I’ve also never been one who likes to just sit around doing nothing. There is always something free to do if money is an issue. While I’m not a fan of large crowds because of my social anxiety, I do enjoy gatherings with friends and family. I’m not a big shopper because it stresses me out to spend money, and I can’t find a lot that I like that fits my weird little body! I like to work out, but my physical condition has limited this recently. While I live in “paradise,” a change of scenery would be nice occasionally. A nice day or weekend road trip would be great……who doesn’t like a little road trip, even if you have no plans…..just hop in the car and go!
There are a lot of museums and historic places in our area. My parents instilled in me a love of learning about the past, and an appreciation for art and culture. I need to take advantage of these places. I also enjoy just sitting at a pub drinking cold beer, eating pizza, wings, or some Gulf shrimp, and talking with friends. I need to be doing these things more often. Even if I am tired from my work week, I need to make sure I am doing things to get a change of scenery, and to keep from feeling isolated. I do not want to become one of those angry, bitter, suspicious people I talked about earlier.
I need to take better care of myself, and take better care of my own needs. Every woman does. If you don’t have someone to do things with, then go by yourself. You will still have a change of scenery, and you may even learn something. Don’t wait for someone to do it with you, or to make plans for you. Just get up and go. Social isolation isn’t healthy, and it’s up to you to do something about it. Don’t let it take over, making you miserable. Take care of you first! Your loved ones will appreciate it.
“Solitude, isolation, are painful things and beyond human endurance” —Jules Verne