The hustle and bustle. The glitz and glam. The family and friends. What happens to those who are not near the ones they love for the holidays? Or rather, what about those who feel alone even near family and friends. The holidays are an interesting time. Growing up, we are shown all of the beauty and magic of the season. But as we age, we begin to notice that we all have different emotional responses to a time when it is expected to be with those closest to us. Each person in the world has their own unique definition of what the holiday season means to them and how they choose to spend it is equally as unique. Steps can be taken to combat the loneliness that the holiday season may bring and to shift what the season means to you.
1. Keep Yourself Busy
No matter where you reside, near or far, it is likely that you have a friend or two that you enjoy spending time with. Make plans to grab coffee or try a new dinner spot. Offer to help them shop for their family gifts. Plan a movie night complete with hot cocoa and baking. The more you can fill your schedule with plans, dates, and events, the quicker the holiday season will pass.
2. Give Back
Tis the season for giving. Donating your time to a shelter through service or providing donations of some sort can help remind you of what is most important about the holiday season; helping others. Not only will it take up your time and keep you busy, it will make you feel really great knowing that you were able to help someone feel a little bit better during such a sensitive time.
3. Create Your Own Traditions
Who says this time of year means paying an astronomical amount to fly “home for the holidays?” Why cause undue stress on your nerves and your pocket book? Why do we place this expectation on ourselves to please others by accommodating old traditions? If you’re living in a city away from your family, perhaps exploring what the holidays truly mean to you includes beginning a new tradition. Maybe it is FaceTiming with your family over dinner, making a solo dinner for yourself, opening presents from Santa with your pets, or taking yourself out for a 5 star dinner. Whatever you decide for you makes it that much more special; the holidays are what you make it.
4. Let’s Get Physical
Want a jump start on that New Year’s Resolution? Start a new work out or food plan during the holidays. Not only will it help you stay focused on yourself and how you are feeling through this emotional time, it will also help increase your natural “happy chemicals.” You will get to try new workouts, discover new spots in your city, or even meet new friends at a workout class. Focusing on health is a great way to slide through the holidays and in to the new year with a fresh new routine.
5. You’re Not The Only One
For some, being alone during the holidays just flat out sucks. It is not ideal and we would rather not spend it that way. But perhaps you aren’t close to your family, you can’t afford to go home, your work schedule will not allow it, or many other reasons that you are forced to be alone. If you know this is hard for you, without a doubt there is someone near you who feels the same. Seek them out. Offer a helping hand or an ear for them to lean on. It will help you feel less lonely and it will also help them overcome their holiday time blues as well.
6. But Always Remember
It is okay to not be okay. Cry it out. Talk about it. Journal about it. Seek out a licensed professional. But above all else, do not tell yourself that your feelings do not matter (see last blog post). You are allowed to not be okay with being alone during the holiday season. Will some of the above tips help you feel a little less lonely? Perhaps. But at the end of the month when you still are not coping well with being alone in your home, express those emotions out loud to yourself. No one and nothing is telling you that you need to be okay with being alone.