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Making connections and finding out who you are

Making connections and finding out who you are
Try new hobbies, or take up old ones. Supplied.

As rural women, we have different things going on, different issues, and varying ways of relating to others. Loneliness and isolation can affect all rural people. Loneliness is when we lack meaningful connections with others, while isolation is knowing that we do have meaningful connections, but time, distance, location, or finances make that connection more difficult.

If you are a rural woman without children – or your children have left home – it can feel much harder to make connections without having the easy mutuality of children.

You may have long distances to travel to do anything. You may be wondering who you really are – if your children have left home, it may feel like there is a void there where your children once were.

Try to see this as an exciting time to rediscover yourself, perhaps look for other women in the same situation.

Try new hobbies – or take up old ones. Keep connections up with family, whether that be with your adult children, or your wider family network.

You may feel outnumbered in your area, as is often the case in farming communities. What interest and sports groups are in your area, or can you start something new yourself? All it takes is for someone to be willing to make the effort – could this be you? Can you find some value outside of your home, perhaps in your career, with animals or pets, or would you be willing to study?

If your children are small, it is more of a challenge to get out of the house. It will require a concentrated effort to build connections, but the benefits for you and your children are so worth it. Find out what groups are held in your area for preschoolers – these groups are as much for you as they are for your children. Everybody feels a little anxious when approaching new people – this is normal and human. You are unlikely to regret any effort made.

If your children are older and growing more independent, you may be experiencing an urge to find who you used to be.

Spoiler: you are who you always were once you peel back a single layer, but wiser and more complex.

Friendships that were put on the backburner are now able to be re-explored, while hobbies, interests and sports are more possible to be rekindled. What used to give you joy?

What are you doing when you experience glimmers of who you once were?

If you had a single day to do what you love, dress how you choose, and be with who you love, what would that look like?

Whatever stage you are at, now is the time to hold yourself kindly and acknowledge that things can be hard sometimes, but there are so many chances here to build upon yourself.

Slip into a place of being mindful of your struggles and respond to yourself with love and kindness, as you would do with a good friend.

So many women struggle with these stages along with you. You will always be the one constant in your life, so why not respond to yourself with being mindful, and being kind.

What small actions can you take?

by Kathryn Wright, registered counsellor