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According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, a measure of the stressfulness of major life events, the death of a spouse is the most stressful and traumatic experience that a person can endure 4. After going through the grieving process and coping with the loss of a life partner, many widows and widowers experience intense loneliness. While it's normal to feel lonely after a spouse's death, it's also important to take steps to avoid isolation and reclaim your happiness.
Don't allow yourself to sink into self-pity or feelings of helplessness. If you're feeling lonely, you must take charge and make changes. Nobody else can do this for you. Be proactive and commit to finding positive, healthy ways to combat loneliness. Your friends and family can be powerful sources of strength and encouragement, but in the end you must be willing and determined to connect with people and move on with your life.
Get Involved In Activities and Hobbies
Avoid loneliness by occupying your time with activities. Reintroduce yourself to groups and hobbies that you participated in before your spouse died, or be adventurous and try something new. Clubs and organizations exist for almost any activity imaginable. Do an Internet search or comb through social meeting websites, such as Meetup.com, to find people in your area who share your interests. Choose activities that are social in nature. Sitting at home alone knitting or reading a book is not the best way to ward off loneliness.
One of the most positive ways to cope with the loss of a spouse is to do things to help others. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, become a mentor or help your favorite charity with fundraising events. These positive acts of giving back will have a lasting impact on the lives of others while helping you become involved and meet new people. Counseling other grieving widows and widowers can also help you cope with your own loneliness.
Start Dating, When You're Ready
When you feel like you're ready to start dating again, go for it. This will take time, but once you feel like your heart is open to loving again, ease back into the dating scene. This doesn't mean you're trying to replace your loved one. It just means you're ready to open your heart back up to someone new. Go to a speed dating event with a friend, try your hand at online dating or go out with someone you know through an activity group or a mutual acquaintance. Don't expect to find love right away. Look at it as a way to have fun and meet new people, and consider it a bonus if you meet someone you're interested in dating.
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