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The Loneliness Epidemic: The Impact of Loneliness on Women's Mental Health

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The Loneliness Epidemic: The Impact of Loneliness on Women's Mental Health

 In this episode of the Women’s Mental Health podcast we dive deep into the often overlooked connection between loneliness and mental health concerns for women aged 25-55. Join licensed psychotherapists Randi Owsley, LMSW, and Jessica Bullwinkle, LMFT, as they shed light on the impact of loneliness on mental well-being and share strategies to navigate this complex issue. If you're seeking mental health resources, feeling alone, struggling with self-identity, or in need of coping skills and self-care, this episode is a must-listen for you.

If you are struggling with loneliness and its impact on your mental health, you're not alone. There are many different types of therapy, counseling, and support groups available to help you cope. Building social connections is also crucial to combat loneliness, with tips and advice available for fostering meaningful connections through social activities and community involvement. Engaging in self-reflection and mindfulness practices can also help navigate feelings of loneliness and promote a sense of peace and connection.

Additionally, it's important to understand the potential impacts of loneliness on physical and mental health, including depression and anxiety. Regardless of age or life stage, there are resources available to help manage loneliness, from actions and coping strategies to support groups and community involvement.

In our upcoming podcasts, we will delve into several important topics that affect our daily lives. The loneliness epidemic, a widespread phenomenon, will be discussed, shedding light on the impacts of feeling alone or isolated. Social isolation, the lack of meaningful social connections, will also be explored, emphasizing the importance of building and nurturing relationships.

We will dive into mental health, addressing various aspects of mental well-being and the challenges that individuals may face. Self-care, a crucial component of maintaining overall well-being, will be highlighted, offering actionable steps that listeners can incorporate into their lives. Lastly, we will delve into the complexities of relationships, examining the concerns and patterns that arise when interacting with others. Stay tuned for enlightening conversations and valuable insights on these important topics in our upcoming podcasts.

What is the relationship between loneliness and mental health concerns for women?

A: Loneliness can have a significant impact on mental health for women. Research shows that prolonged feelings of isolation and loneliness can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.

Can therapy help with loneliness?

A: Yes, therapy can be an effective tool for managing loneliness. Different types of therapy, counseling, or support groups may be recommended to individuals struggling with loneliness.

Are there any particular coping skills for managing loneliness?

A: Yes, there are several coping skills that can help individuals navigate feelings of loneliness. These include building social connections, engaging in meaningful activities, engaging in healthy habits, and practicing mindfulness.

How does social media affect loneliness?

A: Social media can have both positive and negative effects on loneliness. While it can facilitate social connections, it can also lead to feelings of comparison and inadequacy, contributing to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Does loneliness have physical health effects?

A: Yes, loneliness can have physical health effects. Studies have linked loneliness to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, and other health problems.

Can self-reflection help with loneliness?

A: Yes, self-reflection can be a helpful tool for addressing feelings of loneliness. It can help individuals better understand their feelings and take steps to improve their social relationships.

Does loneliness affect different age groups differently?

A: Yes, loneliness can have different impacts on different age groups. Seniors and teenagers are more likely to experience chronic loneliness, while young adults may experience temporary or situational loneliness.

How does loneliness affect romantic relationships?

A: Loneliness can have a significant impact on romantic relationships, leading to feelings of disconnection and decreased intimacy. It's important for both partners to actively work to maintain meaningful connections and address any feelings of loneliness within the relationship.

Can physical activity help with loneliness?

A: Yes, physical activity can help manage loneliness by releasing endorphins and promoting feelings of well-being. Engaging in regular exercise or other physical activity can be an effective coping mechanism for loneliness.

What are some resources available for managing loneliness?

A: There are various resources available for managing loneliness, including therapy, support groups, social activities, volunteering, and self-help books on the subject. Local community centers and mental health clinics can be a good place to start exploring resources.


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Ways to Unwind and Relax

Meditative, Relaxing, Mental Health Coloring books developed by licensed psychotherapists Randi Owsley and Jessica Bullwinkle – Available on Amazon Today!

Transcript

The Loneliness Epidemic: The Impact of Loneliness on Women's Mental Health

[00:00:00] Randi: welcome to the Women's Mental Health Podcast with Randi and Jess. We're two licensed psychotherapists and we talk about women's mental health, well being and strategies for coping with life's challenges and how it's all normal. .

[00:00:12] Jess: We're thrilled to have you here on this journey towards mental well being and self discovery today.

[00:00:17] Randi: Today's episode is a significant one. We're going to talk about something that affects many of us at some point in our lives, but especially as women, loneliness.

[00:00:26] Jess: Loneliness, it's a universal experience, but it can especially be challenging, as Randi said, for women.

[00:00:34] Randi: Yes, and later in the episode, we'll be addressing practical self care strategies that can help combat loneliness and foster meaningful connections with others.

[00:00:43] Jess: Find us and more resources on womensmentalhealthpodcast. com.

[00:00:48] Randi: Have you ever had these thoughts?

[00:00:50] Jess: What is the loneliness epidemic and how does it specifically impact women?

[00:00:56] Randi: Are there any long term consequences of experiencing chronic loneliness? Are

[00:01:01] Jess: older women more prone to experiencing loneliness versus younger

[00:01:06] Randi: women? How can women build and maintain fulfilling connections and relationships to combat their loneliness? What self

[00:01:13] Jess: care practices can women incorporate into their daily routine to alleviate being lonely?

Is

[00:01:19] Randi: it helpful for women experiencing loneliness to seek professional help?

 I'm just going to say

[00:01:24] Jess: yes, always. Yes. Yes, always. How can women balance their responsibilities while also prioritizing their own mental well being and themselves?

[00:01:33] Randi: Am I the only one that feels lonely at times, The answer is no, you are not. So let's dive right into it and discuss how loneliness impacts our mental health and ways we can overcome it.

. So

[00:01:46] Jess: what exactly is the loneliness epidemic , and why is it? specifically impacting us as

[00:01:53] Randi: women. It refers to the widespread prevalence and almost chronic ness of loneliness and society.

And for women, this comes with a lot of societal pressures. , the roles that we carry a lack of social connections and relationships, a lack of meaningful relationships and all these things, increase , feelings of loneliness.

[00:02:16] Jess: If we start talking about it, women are more lonely than men.

It goes back to our kin keeping series, ? And it goes back to, why we don't have a village anymore.

[00:02:27] Randi: Cause we're juggling so many roles and responsibilities that it leaves so little time for ourselves and for building those strong, , communities and tribes and meaningful relationships and connections.

[00:02:42] Jess: I will prioritize my family and my work and my other responsibilities, sometimes over my social life or, what I want to do with friends. I put it off to the side, like I can do that later. And it really sometimes can be really isolating for me and for a lot of other women out there.

[00:02:59] Randi: . And I feel like it's really hard to balance Workload, homeload, and the stress that comes with everything, and we can get so burnt out. And then we feel like, oh, going and doing something with a friend or like a co worker is just like one more thing. But then like we're not getting our cups filled

[00:03:16] Jess: either.

. You don't want it to feel like a chore, but we already have so much on our plate between navigating motherhood, trying to get our careers, , making them progress and honestly having to work harder than a lot of men do , in our world right now. Maintaining these relationships, we're maintaining play dates, we're maintaining, things for our children.

We're managing their schedules. Again, go listen to our keen kin keeping series. Yeah.

[00:03:42] Randi: Yeah. And I feel like this is especially impactful for women too that juggle work in the mix too. Not, I'm not dismissing if you're a stay at home mom, I feel like that is the hardest job in the world. I think that's even harder.

It's even harder, I feel, and can be even more isolating. They just did a study in this year, 2023 in February, and they said that 53% 3% of the women in the workforce feel more lonely than ever. And it wasn't that they felt lonely at work, it's that they feel lonely because of work because they are working towards a goal.

Like you said, you're working harder than a man and you're trying to get ahead and you feel like you are unseen, unheard, not respected enough. You're, you have to put in extra work to get ahead like where you're at in your career and that creates loneliness,

[00:04:37] Jess: Even on top of that is a lot of the women that we know and in our groups are the breadwinners.

They are kick ass women who work really hard, make really good money, but guess what? They're still doing all of the other stuff, right? And so when are they having time to be friends or to have friends, ? Because they're doing everything. And now they're also having on their shoulders , this burden of being the breadwinner too.

[00:05:07] Randi: And let's not forget too, like a lot of us live away from family. So we don't have that. I mean, that can be good if you have a toxic family, but a lot of us don't have that built in family support system. And then if we don't have a, community with our friends or our coworkers or things like that too, we.

are lacking in that village, that tribe, that community. And then a lot of us to have mental health issues or chronic health issues. And those can be debilitating to or our kids have, special needs or things like that. And that creates a whole other layer like Oh, my gosh I can't go out with my kid.

Or maybe, you're worried about what people think about you. And all these things mix together. It feels like sometimes like you have like an anvil, stuck to your leg and you're being pulled down into the depths of the ocean. Going, but I can do it. Right I can do it. I'm still trying to do it.

[00:06:03] Jess: You mentioned mental health, ? And they're showing that there are short term and long term consequences of the, this loneliness epidemic we're having. They're showing that there's feelings of sadness and anxiety, and it even affects our physical

[00:06:17] Randi: health, ? Oh, and you have so you have higher depression, higher anxiety, more and more health issues,

[00:06:26] Jess: right?

And that leads to long term, cardiovascular diseases. We can immune systems. I mean, we're talking, short term and long term, ?

[00:06:35] Randi: And so it really is a epidemic because it is affecting our overall physical and mental health. And we're not really addressing it because as women, we learned to kind of compartmentalize and shut things down and put stuff on the back burner

[00:06:53] Jess: Fake it till you make it.

That is the dumbest thing I've ever

[00:06:55] Randi: said in my life. It's a horrible saying, but I feel like we say it to ourselves or just get through this. Just get through this. And it's make it to Friday. And then it's like, how many Fridays do we need to get through to finally get through to ourselves and realize we are not okay right now, or we're feeling really lonely or this is causing depression in my life, or this is causing anxiety in my life.

And then it gets. Compounded, and it's worse, it is

[00:07:21] Jess: worse, as we were saying earlier, ? One of the questions we were thrown out is, are older women more prone than younger women? I think it's pretty equal right now, because the older women find they're not necessarily in the social media part of it.

But the younger women are . And there's so much comparison to well, my house didn't look like it did on Instagram. So I'm not going to show it or right. I don't want to let people in my house because I have dogs and my walls are scuffed up, which they totally are because I have dogs.

But I'm like, whatever.

[00:07:53] Randi: Yeah. Or I have dishes in my sink. So maybe like next week if I clean up the house and it's like next week comes and goes and then it never happens because we're always What if or comparing and like you said, I feel like there's no real like age, thing here, like older women, younger women, I feel it happens at all different points in life, whether you're a new mom, a seasoned mom, or you have kids leaving and you're hitting that empty nest.

It's just like a different stage of loneliness that can hit you. , Older women, have issues like we said, like empty nest or their kids leave or maybe going through a divorce or going through a retirement or there's your you've lost somebody and there's grief and all of these things can contribute to loneliness or maybe physical limitations.

So you can't get out as much. But like we said, women to like you have a new baby, you can't Maybe get out as much so it's not really me versus them or like a now versus then it's all the time women are trying to combat like this loneliness because we really do not ingrain that we need help from other people or that we should ask for help for other people or cultivate these relationships.

[00:09:07] Jess: That is so right, especially with how fast paced we are now. My grandmother used to talk about when she was younger like early 20s and mid 20s. Yeah. That, she had little kids running around, but like the neighborhoods would get together and they would have a party in the garage, right?

They had these little two car garages or one car garages, they'd clear everything out. Or carports. Yeah, they would clear everything out and somebody would have music and they would just go dancing in the garage and all of the neighbors would get together because that was your community back then. You here I'm lucky that I have a very similar community.

We're not dancing in the garages, but you

[00:09:46] Randi: know, we, you can rely on people, you can reach out to them. And I feel like a lot of communities aren't built that way and a lot of us move a lot too. So we also don't have the ability to develop those deep, it's like you said, like our grandmothers

they. Pretty much lived in the same house once they got married, for the next 30 years, 30 years. Yeah. And so it's like you built those relationships where it's like now we move around a lot because, of money, life changes, divorces, health reasons, doctors, whatever it is you need to go for where you need to go careers and stuff like that.

So it's hard to develop those deep relationships at times like that. But we really need that. And like your grandmother Her and her friends, they realized if we don't get At least meet up in the garage. We're gonna have nothing, And they

[00:10:35] Jess: didn't have social media. They didn't have any of that.

They actually connected face to face. And in most big cities, people live in what we call bedroom communities because they can't afford it. forward to live where they actually hang out or where they actually work. And so they drive forever. And so half the time in previous towns we've lived in, we never saw our neighbors because they were gone before five or six in the morning and they would come back late at night.

[00:11:03] Randi: That was us too previously when we lived, we worked in the city and we commuted and even though we lived only 45 minutes outside of the city with the commute, it could take three hours each way. That's six hours a day of commuting. So dumb. And all of our friends and family were working like that.

So we never saw anybody, even if we lived 15 or 20 minutes from them, and also too, I was like, Oh God, do we want to get in the car again? And be in traffic to try to like, you are so burnt out from that

[00:11:32] Jess: cycle, right? And we would never leave because we're like, no, no, no, I don't want to drive this weekend.

So, so how do we and, and honestly, Randy has done such a good job here where we live, but how do we build and maintain these social connections that are going to help us as women find our

[00:11:48] Randi: village? It's really, really hard. I say like you have to like date to like find your friends, which is oh my gosh, But it's true. And you have to put yourself out there. And . I am naturally an introvert, which people that meet me would say, No, you're not. But I have to push myself out of my comfort zone to get out there and meet people. My mom died at a younger age and so did my mother in law.

And so we didn't have that built in family. And I wanted a community for myself. So. When we moved, there wasn't one. There wasn't a mom's group. There wasn't anything. And so I built one and I put myself out there continuously. Is it very hard? Yes. Have I been hurt by it? Yes. Has it been worth it? Yes.

Because I have found other people that make my life. world in my life and my community so much better and bigger than it could have been that I can rely on. So it's worth the struggle and the pain and the uncomfortableness of putting yourself out there to build a community and friendships and I feel like a lot of time to We think we need to have this ultimate BFF, our forever friend.

, we grew up seeing like these shows and Barbie and Barbie and Midge or whatever it is. Barbie and her BFF and it's no, relationships do have a timeline and I've learned this the older I've gotten because I'm a very loyal person. It's hard for me to let go of friendships, even if they have turned toxic.

And so I've had to learn that some friends are just. there for a time. Some community is just there for a time, whether it's, a church or a network or a friendship, and you can let go of it and move on and find other people.

[00:13:35] Jess: Well, and in going through that, it's really interesting how, when I, when I break it down like that, like what you were just talking about, or I'll say, you can have friends that you go to the movies with, right?

You can have friends that you show up in your jammies and they don't care, right? You have friends that you're like, let's go to a concert. You can have different types of friends and they may not, might not even all hang out, but you can have different types of friends and have different things that you do with them.

And I think a lot of times we, As women, , we'll expect our spouses to fill that, that void of, we want that companionship. We need that deep talk. And honestly, I mean, that isn't necessarily where we get it. We get it from our girlfriends. And unless we don't have girlfriends, then we become dissatisfied with our spouses because we expect them to fill all the roles.

When we met them, we had girlfriends, right? And then we had kids and things change.

[00:14:36] Randi: We're multifaceted, like we have so many sides to ourself. And so it's like, why limit yourself to one type of friend or one friend group. And I feel like I I love the tv show friends, but I feel like that did a disservice to people because you feel like you need this one core group and that's everybody and everything to you and like you couldn't ever deviate from that and it's like those lifetime friendships like that like you don't have to be Like, I think about it.

If they lived far apart, would they still be friends? Probably not. It was because of their proximity to each other, right? They lived in the same apartment building. They lived in the same city, so it was easy to maintain those friendships. And there's a

[00:15:18] Jess: reason why the series ended.

You cannot keep maintaining that. Right Eventually, it has to end.

[00:15:24] Randi: So, in reality, what it takes to build, Friendships and combat loneliness is being vulnerable and that is putting yourself out there and also having empathy for other people and meeting those people where they're at.

Like just said, we can have friends for different reasons, different seasons. I know that I have friends that I can call up and be like, let's do this. And they'll be like, yes, down whenever I have friends that I know all they can give me is a cup of coffee, and that's What they have to give, you know and I have friends, like you said like I know like I can just enjoy going out and listening to music with them.

Or I have friends that I can go do activities with or go paddleboarding with or whatever. They're up for an adventure. And then other friends who I know are just okay coming over and sitting on my couch and being okay with that meeting everybody where they're at and not expecting also that one friend or that one person to meet all those needs that you have.

[00:16:22] Jess: Exactly, exactly.

 How do we find friends once we're out of school, right?

You talked about dating and right now the group that you have is a mom's group, right? And I'm a mom and I will always be a mom, but eventually mine is going to grow up and I can't be like, Hey, let's join your play date with my 24 year old. Right Right And so I'm going to eventually have to find some other resources and other groups and other moms.

Or other older moms, because I'm not in the same place as somebody who, say, who has a two year old.

[00:16:55] Randi: Exactly, so that's what, why it's important to join clubs, find hobbies get out. Hiking. Yeah,

[00:17:01] Jess: hiking groups, or paddle boarding, like she said,

[00:17:04] Randi: right? Or even support groups, if you have lost somebody, you're like a widower, or if you…

Have a family member who is an alcoholic and you need to find support. These are places you're pushing yourself out. You're being vulnerable. You're going out of your comfort zone, but you might find your person or your people.

[00:17:24] Jess: You said that V word, vulnerable, and I am going to encourage every extrovert out there. When you show up at someplace new, even if you don't know anybody, look for the one that looks really awkward, that's your introvert, and go say hello. Yeah, you're gonna be

[00:17:40] Randi: BFFs.

[00:17:41] Jess: I do that. So much because I am an extroverted introvert or introverted extrovert, but either way I'm more extroverted And so anytime we have our mom's groups I always go to the one that looks really quiet or shy And I make them talk to me

[00:17:56] Randi: and I do that too but on the opposite end because I was so introverted and painfully shy and had a really bad anxiety, which was actually undiagnosed ADHD, but I didn't know that.

I was living in my head. That's why my best friend was always somebody that was super outgoing because they would attach to me. But now I see that in other people and I will go up and talk to the person. I think that looks lonely or uncomfortable or hasn't. Been talking to anybody else because I don't want them to ever feel the way that I felt when I was that person because I often felt like I was unseen all the time.

[00:18:34] Jess: Yeah, I do. I tell all my moms that go out that are super shy. I'm like, just go out. Somebody will find you. Go out. There is somebody like me or somebody like Randy who will find you. Find you and reach out. And reach out and

[00:18:48] Randi: talk to you. But you have to put yourself out there. You have to, but you gotta be there.

You have to take the first step in the V word in being vulnerable. .

[00:18:56] Jess: We're not have to do a podcast on vulnerability because oh my gosh, I know. I love Brene Brown. I love her vulnerability, I love her shame research. Mm-hmm. . But when we say be vulnerable, people don't really know what that means. It doesn't mean, well, just briefly that you need to go out there and tell 'em all your deep, dark secrets. No.

[00:19:13] Randi: Though if you're ADHD,

[00:19:14] Jess: you might. But you just need to go out and put yourself somewhere where you feel a little uncomfortable, right? You just have to share a little bit about yourself. And as you get to know people, you'll know what you can or can't share or what you're

[00:19:28] Randi: comfortable with.

But unless you put yourself out there and share those things, how are you going to find anybody else that you have anything in common? Because you never know until you. say it. And somebody's Hey, me too, and with this also comes taking care of yourself. And when you do self care, and you take care of yourself, and you feed into yourself, and you fill your own cup, it's easier to to put yourself out there.

Because when you love yourself, and you know your worth, it's easier to find other people to that then also respect your worth and know your worth.

[00:20:02] Jess: It's almost like we can tell, right? When you walk in, you can tell when somebody knows their worth, right? Or they know when they put those boundaries in place that say, yeah, this isn't, this isn't gonna work for me anymore.

Yeah. And it's so awesome to see that confidence and to see that people who love

[00:20:20] Randi: themselves. And I think that's why Jess always teases me that everybody wants to meet me when we go out places.

[00:20:26] Jess: Oh my god, where's Randy?

[00:20:28] Randi: But it's because I know my worth. And I'm not willing to settle and I think other people and that self esteem plays a huge thing in loneliness, too And I feel like when you learn to love yourself You know your worth and you are able to kind of up your self esteem that way that attracts other people to you They want to know what you have And they want that for themselves.

I, I

[00:20:51] Jess: think in general, I mean, we want to be with people who we respect or that we not admire, but like we look up to, right?

[00:20:59] Randi: Well, they say like you should be around people that you want to… Be like where you want to learn from where you want to know more about because it does help you I feel like level up and like for a trendy word to say but if you want those things for yourself, why would you not go to that person that knows how to do those things or implements those things so you can learn how to be that way, because that is more fulfilling and that's part of self care and also getting out taking care of yourself going for a walk doing mindfulness.

Journaling and sleep. This is so hard for me, especially getting older Like I feel like I sleep even less because of hormones and things like that But all of these things can help you combat loneliness. Yeah,

[00:21:45] Jess: I joke that you need your 2 a. m Person the person that you can text at 2 a. m Randy She's that person.

I know at 2 a. m. she's up, and if she's not up, I know she's an adult. She's got her phone on silent. Because if I'm up, I'll be like, doo doo doo doo doo. And then, most of the time, she's poof. And so you do. You need your 2 a. m. person that you're like, hey, 2 a. m. thought. And you can send them off,

[00:22:04] Randi: right?

And you don't feel any shame or guilt about that. And I'm like, oh, sorry I didn't mean to bother you like I'm like bother me Like if I don't want to be bothered my phone will be on focus or do not, you know Call through or whatever, you know I'm a big girl. Like you said, I know my boundaries and I know how to work my phone too, right and exactly and it's like and Jess knows too like if I don't get back to her eventually I will Yeah, I'm not real worried

[00:22:28] Jess: about it.

But if I really want her, I call her and she'll still ignore me, but she knows it's important. Then I'll be like, okay. She's okay, now I'm going to text you back. So now… I also want to encourage people to seek therapy because that is where you're going to learn you're not alone, ?

 Okay, I'm going to sidetrack here for like the dumbest thing. It's so funny. A couple of years ago, my kiddo accidentally with her hard shoe kicked off my toenail, shoved it in and basically traumatized my toenail, right? And so, I, I don't do pedicures because I'm like, it's not gross.

It's not fungal. It just, it won't ever grow

[00:23:04] Randi: back. You have a funny toe. I have a funny toenail

[00:23:07] Jess: and it's my big toe. I was telling somebody yesterday, one of our mutual friends, and I was like, Oh, I don't get pedicures because people think it's, and she's Oh, I have one of those too. And this happened and da da da da da.

And she's Oh yeah, totally normal. And I was like. Oh, I had no idea that other people had traumatized toenails, and I know it's a toenail, but during summer season, you're like, Oh, I want to wear a flip, yes, over a toenail. But that's what I'm saying. You have to share these things with people because I would never know.

And then I'm first thing I'm doing, I'm looking at her toenail going, wow, that looks really normal. And so. It, it's dumb, well not dumb, but it's just something silly, but once we start sharing with people, it helps us feel normal. It helps us feel like, oh, we belong, and

[00:23:52] Randi: we're not weird. Yeah, and now you have a friend you can go get pedicures with and you don't feel awkward showing your weird big toe to people.

That is totally true. It's the same thing. Yes. So, but those, when we are in therapy, it helps us normalize those feelings when we have a safe place to talk about those things. And I was so excited because I was talking, I went to go see a new female practitioner and I was talking to her and she was saying, I go to therapy every week and I see being in this profession.

And I said, yes. Yes, girl. Yes. I was like hyping her up. That is so good to hear that a female professional that's in a high burnout rate, career goes and gets therapy and she has a safe place to go to talk about all the things and the load that she carries each and every week. And there's nothing to be ashamed about that.

And I was so excited. I was so excited to hear her talk about that. And then she was like, Oh, I'm going to listen to your podcast. And I was like, Yay. And so I'm seeing that more and more that women are comfortable, reaching out for those resources, and I think we should keep being each other's hype girls like that and be excited for each other to reach out, to a therapist or a doctor, and things like that to get those things done and take care of yourself.

[00:25:08] Jess: Exactly, and it isn't forever. Most of the time you work on an issue and then you take a break and you might come back or you take a break. It really depends on what's going on. And sometimes it's just having that safe place to say something that you're like, okay. And to have somebody else hear you and validate it and understand.

[00:25:25] Randi: And you learn so many coping skills and strategies and therapy. I feel, especially if you go to somebody that specializes in CBT, like Jess and I do . , I love teaching people coping skills so they have a toolbox of things that they can rely on. Because when I used to feel like upset or panicky or whatever, I knew I could reach back and be like, okay, I'm going to try this, okay, I'm going to try

[00:25:48] Jess: this.

And that's why we did our journals. And that's why we've done our books that we have on Amazon for coloring and to help relax us. I had them out the other night while I was watching TV because I was feeling a little anxious. I'm like, oh. I need to color. I'm going to sit in color so I can be present.

And

[00:26:04] Randi: it was just nice to have those, especially in the journals too, where they give you like those little bleep, the little blurbs, the prompts to get you started, because sometimes we feel so stuck, like in our heads or our

[00:26:15] Jess: thoughts. Dear diary, today I did this. And that's

[00:26:20] Randi: not what it is. Right And so having that starting point to kind of jump off from can be like so helpful, and it makes it less overwhelming than it can sometimes feel.

Mm hmm.

[00:26:30] Jess: And there are some resources out there that are already set up, right? Honestly, our town, Facebook, is still really big. I know other towns, they're all into Instagram. The part of it is finding a group that you fit with and that you like and just trying it a few times, right? The big one that I hear going out right now is the Mom Walk Collective, where they get together.

We have like three or four different ones in our little town. And then there's a couple, they're, they're

[00:26:57] Randi: nationwide, though. And that's how Jess and I met, though, too, just reaching out, being like, Hey, let's go for a walk, you know and we just started walking and talking. And actually, previously in my private practice, I offered walk and talk therapy because it's very grounding to be out in nature and just walk and talk and be surrounded in that.

And it's, it's freeing in a way. So how can women Really balance all of these responsibilities and things on their shoulders, while also prioritizing their own mental health. I

[00:27:27] Jess: will tell you, you and everyone else, if mama's not okay, the house isn't okay. And so it is learning to put yourself first, and realizing that is not selfish, it is self interest.

care. I cannot care for anybody in this house or anybody that I work with if I don't take care

[00:27:44] Randi: of myself. So that brings in time management and setting boundaries. And that's why I schedule a lot of my stuff out. I'm like, this is the calendar. This is my time. I'm going away to do this. I'm going this with my friends.

This is my block of time. That's it. I work it into my schedule. So I have that.

[00:28:02] Jess: And, and exactly. I, I, I am intentionally planning whatever it is that

[00:28:07] Randi: I'm planning. And I love that word, intentional. You're being intentional about

[00:28:11] Jess: it. Because it's important to me. It's also learning the signs of burnout.

Because when I start feeling burnt out, that's when I'm a little bit crankier. I'm not as easygoing with my

[00:28:23] Randi: family. Like we, it ends up like our kids take the brunt of it. Like you said, our partner takes the brunt of it. And it's That's not fair.

[00:28:30] Jess: No, it's not. It's like the dogs take the brunt of it, right?

The dog is the one that last one that gets kicked. Yeah. But you know, all they want to do is love you. And you're like, Oh my God, you're too much. But really, they're the same thing they were yesterday and the day before before that. Yeah, it's us. It's us. And so it's learning the signs of burnout, which, you podcast on that as well.

Yeah, go back and look. But it's recognizing when you need to take those breaks and figuring out. And here's the other thing.

Ask for help. So many moms do not ask for help because they don't want to feel like I'm supposed to do this. No, you're not supposed to be doing all of this. And

[00:29:10] Randi: like Jess was saying, so like there's an extrovert looking for an introvert or an introvert looking for an extrovert. There's a friend out there that wants to help.

Yes. There's somebody that wants to help, and they want to be there for you, and they don't know because you haven't said anything. So open up your mouth, be vulnerable, and ask for help. Ask for a friend. Ask if somebody wants to go to the movies.

[00:29:35] Jess: Tell them what you need. Yeah, and that's it. Sometimes communication We expect them to be mind readers because they're our friends and we're not so right because we're all so busy We are just say I need this.

Can you provide this for me? Mm hmm. If not, what can you do or can you just Come sit with me so I don't lose my mind right now. I just need to hang out my hammock and just breathe.

[00:29:56] Randi: I was watching that the new, not new show, the new season of Sweet Magnolias. The season three just opened up and the one girl has a baby and she comes into the restaurant where they're all working and she's so overwhelmed.

And the one one of the main characters, she goes. Okay, he's gonna take, the one worker's gonna take him for a walk for 20 minutes, he's gonna take him for a walk for 20 minutes, I'm gonna take him for a walk for 20 minutes, they're gonna take a walk for 20 minutes, that gives you an hour nap, go home.

And she's oh my god, no I can't, and they're like, She's like I can't ask for that and then she said I'm not asking you I'm telling you and sometimes we need those people in our life that tell us to and they said like you shouldn't even be driving you should you're like so tired like you're overwhelmed like your mental health and they were like go home and sleep for an hour and we've got this and she was like You could see even the character being like, Oh my God, like a sigh.

And it's we really lack that. And I feel like sometimes we don't want to overstep boundaries. But sometimes, too, you need to be like, Hey, this needs to happen. You're looking like crap. And don't take offense to it because people love you in different ways, but, and be like, yes, okay.

I'm going to allow you to come and hold my baby for an hour, even if I'm freaked out about germs. But

[00:31:16] Jess: we need that. And that's what we don't have with that village that we talk about is that we used to have grandparents that lived in the house or down the street, or we'd have parents that were, right around the corner.

And nowadays, even if they're right around the corner, they're still not coming over and doing these things, right? And so, there's so many things differently that, I always say when my daughter has her baby, well, if she has a baby, if she chooses to have a baby in the future, if my daughter has children, I'm going to do all of these things for her if she wants it because there were things that I didn't know I needed.

And now I know I need them and just like um you know I had a friend when I had surgery, give my family a meal. I had never done that for somebody before. And then I was like, oh, so when another friend had a surgery, I gave her family a meal. Yes. And they were like, So grateful for that meal because, it was a hectic day for them and they have all had food.

And so it's like

[00:32:15] Randi: oh, just like small things like that. I feel like really add up and can just take off. And when you look back at that, you're you think, Oh my god, that was so helpful. It was so

[00:32:27] Jess: helpful, and I'm such an ass for not doing it sooner for people.

[00:32:31] Randi: No, no, but now you know because somebody, you learned though.

I did, I learned. At least, and now you've turned around and done it for somebody else. And that's the thing too, sometimes we need to step out and do things for other people we might also not normally do, or if that's something you want done for you. Do it for somebody else. Yes. If you're like, well, nobody's ever done that for me, blah, blah, blah, I want that, blah, blah, well, instead, turn around and do it for somebody

[00:32:54] Jess: else.

And show them, because sometimes until we have it done for us or we see it, we don't realize it's even an option. And so it's just… really cool. So, yeah. And, oh, and the other group I was going to say is they still do a lot of meetups, right? Oh,

[00:33:07] Randi: yeah. So, there's like meetups, Facebook, Instagram there's another one Peanut.

Peanut, yep. It's like moms. And then I had heard some we were at a mom's night out and some of the moms were telling me they met on Bumble BFF. Oh. So, Bumble, Bumble is a dating site. But like they have another side to it called Bumble BFF that is for women to meet up in their area that have like specific interests or want to do activities or stuff together.

So, ignore the dating side, but you can go to the BFF side too. And I've heard a lot of women have. Success with that. Finding people that are like interested in the same things that they are, or just want somebody to go to coffee with or just want somebody, to go to a girls' night out with or want somebody to discuss books with.

So it's like a very, you can put I want some, I just want a book buddy, or whatever. Something, I didn't know that.

[00:33:54] Jess: That's awesome. That's a good resource to have. Yeah. So we, we want to express the importance of self compassion though, during all of this, especially when you're lonely, right?

Being kind to ourselves and practicing self care can really make a world of difference for you, for your family. family, for your pets, for everybody around you, right? I mean, just being kind

[00:34:17] Randi: to ourselves, being gentle with yourself, I feel is huge. And we want to thank you guys for joining us today on the women's mental health podcast.

We hope you found this episode, insightful and encouraging. If, if you did, please like us, leave us a comment, share with your family and friends. Because the more we talk about this, the more we empower ourselves, the more we share this, the less lonely we are going to

[00:34:45] Jess: feel. And remember, you are not alone and we are here to support each other.

See you next week. Bye.

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Loneliness Epidemic Podcast S2 Episode 11

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