Loneliness in midlife
We spoke to Andrea McLean, ex-Loose Women anchor now turned life coach, about loneliness for our podcast.
Loneliness can be devastating, regardless of age or gender. However, midlife can be a particularly
vulnerable period when it comes to experiencing feelings of isolation, especially for women as we
go through hormonal change and our kids leaving home. There can be loneliness in the marital
bed, perhaps you’ve grown apart and lost that connection. Empty nest syndrome is a real thing
and can leave parents with a sense of grief as we become accustomed to a new chapter of our
It’s almost certain that, by the time we have reached midlife, we will have experienced
bereavement. Sadly it’s likely that we will know friends or family who pass away. Our parents are
now elderly and increasingly likely to succumb to illness and death.
Andrea reflected that many women wonder “Am I relevant anymore? A lot of the words
that we use and the tone that we use with ourselves makes us feel very small. And what that does
is it makes the problem seem so big. And this can happen to us at any moment in life. But I think
that there is a particular insidious loneliness that creeps in at middle age.”
If you are experiencing loneliness, consider some of the following suggestions:
Self-Reflection and Self-Care:
Assess your needs, aspirations, and emotional well-being. Engaging in self-care activities such as
meditation, exercise, or pursuing hobbies can enhance self-esteem and provide a sense of
fulfillment, reducing feelings of loneliness.
Embracing New Opportunities:
This is a time for exploration and personal growth. This can involve pursuing further education,
taking up new hobbies, planning travel adventures or even embarking on a career change. By
stepping out of your comfort zones, you can open doors to new connections and experiences that
can alleviate loneliness.
Building social connections and seek support networks:
Proactively building new social connections by joining community groups, attending classes or
workshops, participating in volunteer work, or even exploring online communities. Establishing a strong support network is crucial. This can include friends, family, or even professional support groups. Connecting with others who are experiencing similar challenges can create a sense of belonging and reduce the isolation often felt during this phase of life. Seeking therapy or counselling can also provide a safe space for midlife women to explore their emotions and develop coping strategies.
Cultivating quality relationships
Quality over quantity is key when it comes to relationships. Focus on cultivating deeper and more
meaningful connections with the people in your lives. This can involve nurturing existing friendships (message that old friend!), investing in romantic relationships, or even fostering relationships with adult children or extended family members.
Use that laptop!
Technology can be a powerful tool for combating loneliness. Leverage social media platforms,
online forums and video chat applications to connect with friends, family, and like-minded
Remember, you are not alone (even if it feels like it), and there are resources and strategies
available to help navigate this phase of life. We hope we can provide a friendly chat in your
earbuds and encourage you to make the most of this chapter of your life. Take that first step.
Take a listen to our chat with Andrea McLean about Loneliness in Midlife
Visit our Midlife Library Resources which has a collection of useful links from 3rd party websites and content and more tips for empty nesters.
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