I receive many requests to address the topic of loneliness in motherhood. It turns out there is a belief that people are more lonely than ever. So this week we’re going to dive into the topic of loneliness, acknowledge it, recognize it, and then take action and actively address it.
“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.” – Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder
In an interview I listened to, author Richard Louv talks about his belief that there is a collective loneliness among humans because of our disconnect with nature. What are your thoughts on this idea? Do you feel nature plays a role in loneliness? Why or why not?
Read the quote below and write down your feelings, thoughts, and observations about it.
“In nature nothing exists alone.” – Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
Write about a time or times when you have or do feel lonely in motherhood. Did you talk about it with anyone? Did you feel like you should reach out or simply deal with it by yourself? During times of loneliness do you tend to stay indoors more?
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” – Rachel Carson, A Sense of Wonder
Do you ever feel “trapped” in your role? By the demands of motherhood?
If so, write very specifically what that looks like—times, places, chores, locations, etc. Do any of those descriptions include times or places outside? What have you done to shake those feelings?
If not, what about other mamas? Do you know any mamas who feel this way from time to time or all the time? Have they talked about it with you or is it something you observed or both? Have you felt compelled to help? Been able to help? If so, how and when?
“Humanity is part of nature, a species that evolved among other species. The more closely we identify ourselves with the rest of life, the more quickly we will be able to discover the sources of human sensibility and acquire the knowledge on which an enduring ethic, a sense of preferred direction, can be built.” – E.O. Wilson
Today’s goal is to find something beautiful in nature and write about it in detail. Look around. Take your time. Find what speaks to you the most, what you find beautiful, and then capture it in words on paper. Be sure to include all the senses, colors, smells, etc. in your description. What it is, what it looks like, what’s around it, how it makes you feel. It can be poetic or literal. Don’t stress about the technical details of your description. This exercise is only for you; no one is editing it or critiquing it. It’s all about taking the time to appreciate how beauty inspires you, calls to you, and to show you how you are connected to nature and how it influences you.
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as it exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” – Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
Do you recall a time when you felt a breeze? Were you driving with the windows down? On a boat, racing across the water? Were you suffering through a hot summer day when a blessed breeze blew across your face and provided relief? Do you notice breezes? The wind? How did it affect you? Write about it.
“Nature is often overlooked as a healing balm for the emotional hardships in a child’s life.” – Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods
If you follow yayamamas on social media, you know that one of my strategies for dealing with stress, overwhelm, and negative emotions is to either dance it out, read it out, or out it out (i.e. go outside).
Out it Out today, mama. Every day is filled with ups and downs. When you sense a down coming, stop what you’re doing and go outside. Yes, this could mean leaving a grocery cart in a store for a few minutes while you regroup outside. Yes, this could look like you leaving your desk and walking outside for a breath of fresh air. Yes, this could look like scrapping an afternoon plan and going outside to pick flowers with your kids. Connection is more important than a to do list. Modeling how and when to de-stress is very powerful for your children to see. They learn so much by watching your actions. Write about your time outside and how purposefully using time outside affected you, your mood, your mental state, and productivity.
“Sometimes you need to step outside, get some fresh air and remind yourself of who you are and who you want to be.” – unknown
Reach out if you need help. Reach out to mamas who might need help. Write about how you know when to reach out. What do your instincts tell you?
If you feel like you need to reach out, write about whom you could reach out to or a time you have reached out. If other mamas have reached out to you, write about how you’ve helped them and what you’ve said or encouraged them to do.
“Each new year is a surprise to us. We find that we had virtually forgotten the note of each bird, and when we hear it again, it is remembered like a dream, reminding us of a previous state of existence…The voice of nature is always encouraging.” – Henry David Thoreau