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Your spouse is your best friend, the person who you spend the majority of your time with and a significant, if not most of your life with. Losing your spouse can create a void that can never be filled.

With that void can come an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. This loneliness is completely normal, but if not addressed, could lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression.

It is important to not feel guilty about continuing with your social life after the loss of your loved one. They would not want you sat at home alone, feeling down. They would want you to be surrounded by people who were helping you get through your grief and moving forward.

How to tackle the feeling of loneliness after the loss of a spouse

  • Occupy your time with activities. There are many community and meet up groups full of like-minded people. Taking up some of your time with social hobbies or activities is much better than sitting at home alone and will take your mind off feeling lonely, what’s the worst that can happen? You might even enjoy yourself!
  • Try not to isolate yourself. There are many grief support groups, as well as your family and friends. Sometimes it helps to talk to people who aren’t in your immediate circle, who are going through the same emotions that you are. Your local hospital, doctors or government agency may be able to point you in the direction of such groups.
  • Volunteer. There are many ways to volunteer and spend your time; with animals, children, the elderly, charities. Spending time helping those less fortunate than yourself is not only social but it can help you overcome your feelings of loss and grief.

Advice for dealing with the loss of a spouse

  • Talk to family and friends. Often the loss of a spouse can cause people to isolate themselves and go through the grieving process alone. Your family and friends will be worried about you, try to check in and let them know how you’re feeling. Talking about it may help you work through your feelings.
  • Don’t make hasty decisions. The loss of a loved one often causes us to make irrational decisions you wouldn’t usually make. Decisions like changing jobs or moving house should wait until you are in a better headspace.
  • Don’t rush your mourning. Although it is important to be mindful that life goes on, don’t put pressure on yourself to feel a certain way in a certain time. You will likely have good days and bad days, this is completely normal but the number of good days should start to overtake the bad days, in time.
  • Speak to your doctor. If you feel your grief is affecting your tasks of daily living such as eating, washing and dressing, you may be showing signs of depression and it is important to address this as it is unlikely to get better until you acknowledge you need some help.
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It will likely take time to feel like yourself again but it is important to remember that you are not alone and have many different support options around you that can help you through this hard time.

This blog first appeared on Envigor’s blog.

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Tracey Silvester
Tracey Silvester is Executive Manager of Envigor and has more than 25 years’ experience in health and aged care services. Tracey is committed to ensuring that our elders are able to exercise their right to choose how they live their lives regardless of their ability or function. Tracey is a Registered Nurse and has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Health Management. She is also an Associate Fellow of the Australian College of Health Service Management and a surveyor with the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.