How to Survive Holiday Loneliness
The holiday season is generally thought of as a time of friends and family gathering together in celebration. But loneliness during holidays is a common experience for many people. This can occur because you are separated from your family due to distance, circumstances like COVID-19 restrictions, or interpersonal conflict. It can also occur even if you do have holiday plans, but are missing a special person or you feel emotionally disconnected from those around you.
This feeling of loneliness during holidays can create additional stress, so it is important to learn how to cope with loneliness during the holidays.
How to Cope with Loneliness During the Holidays
Loneliness can have a serious effect on both physical and mental health, increasing the risk of depression, anxiety, heart problems, sleep problems, weight gain, and an overall weaker immune system. Below, we’ve compiled a few suggestions on how to cope with loneliness during the holidays.
Set new expectations.
One reason people experience loneliness during the holidays is that their reality doesn’t line up to the Hallmark Christmas Movie experience of parties, family gatherings, and romantic moments under the mistletoe.
Social media can increase that feeling of missing out with an endless stream of holiday gatherings filling your feed.
It’s important to remember that those glitzy images tend to capture a tiny sliver of real life. The perfect tree photo might be surrounded by chaos just outside the frame.
Instead, focus on being kind to yourself. Order in meals from a favorite restaurant or watch a favorite movie. Create a personal holiday tradition that prioritizes self-care.
It can be difficult to focus on the positive when you are feeling loneliness during the holidays, but it can truly be a balm to your soul to remember that you do have things to be grateful for – whether that is family, friends, a loving pet, a job, or a hobby.
Keeping a list of things to be grateful for in a journal can start a habit of gratitude that can shift your mood over time.
Another way to be grateful for what you have is to give to others. Make a plan to volunteer with a cause you believe in or do a good deed for someone who is going through a hard time. You can drop off a plant to someone who may be feeling down or donate a gift card to someone who may need some extra funds this holiday season.
Build a connection.
If you can’t be with your loved ones in person this holiday season, be the one to reach out to them remotely with a phone call or a scheduled video conference. They may be missing you as much as you miss them and will be happy you thought to include them.
If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, create a new tradition to honor them during the holidays like lighting a candle or hanging a special ornament on the tree.
Know you’re not alone.
While you may feel like no one can understand your feeling of loneliness during the holidays, the truth is that there are many people who are missing the people they love. They may be mourning the loss of someone close to them, separated from family, or longing for a more supportive relationship.
You may find that talking about your feelings of loneliness during holidays can help. If you can’t talk to a loved one directly, you can share your feelings with your online community. You may be surprised how many people share that they are feeling the same way.
It can also be beneficial to speak with a therapist about how to cope with loneliness during the holidays. Appointments can be made to meet in person or using video conferencing tools. If you can’t find a therapist near you right away, there is also online counseling via messenger, live chats, or phone and video sessions through companies like Betterhelp or Talkspace.
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care provides grief support in all the communities we serve. Please call us at 1-888-564-3405 for more information and visit our website for depression resources.
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