The holidays are about being with your loved ones and celebrating with friends and family. But this time of the year can also be challenging for people who have experienced a recent loss, who aren’t close with their family or who may be going through a divorce or breakup. This year, there may also be some who are having to isolate due to Covid 19. All of this can result in the festive season feeling incredibly isolating for some.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to ward off seasonal sadness. Here are just a few ways to feel less alone during what’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.
The first thing to remember is to be patient and gentle with yourself if you’re feeling low or not in the mood to celebrate. Give yourself space to process your emotions and remember that it’s OK to not feel OK.
Meditation or journaling can make the difference between feelings of being overwhelmed and peace. You don’t have to practice meditation or know how to journal, get a book and a pen and get the contents of your head down onto the paper. Don’t censor it, it doesn’t have to make sense and don’t hold back. No one else is going to see this so you don’t have to feel guilty or ashamed of what appears on the page. When we are not analysing and censoring our thoughts we often get a peek at what’s going on at a subconscious level.
Start A New Holiday Tradition That’s Just For You
It can be sad to reminisce on old holiday traditions if you have lost a loved one either to bereavement or the end of a relationship, or alternatively, some find that they are a source of comfort. Whichever is the case, starting a new holiday tradition just for you can help you overcome the loss. However sad, this is a new chapter in your life and it can help to mark it and start to create a new future. Whether it’s seeing a movie on Christmas Eve or baking for yourself or friends, it’s a chance to revel in what you really love.
Become a volunteer this Christmas
Volunteering can take the focus away from what you feel you are lacking and creates a feeling of connection and purpose. Giving back also reinforces that you are making an impact on the world at a time when you may feel invisible and lacking self-worth due to a relationship breakup. And you never know who you’ll meet!
Surround Yourself With People & Tell Them How You Feel
As much as you might want to isolate yourself, you need to push yourself to do the opposite. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good and provoke positive feelings and emotions. You don’t need to do this on your own. If you need to take time to yourself then you should, but, recognise that you’re a social being with love to give to those around you.
Spend Quality Time With Yourself
At the end of the day, your best friend should be yourself — and the holidays are a good time to invest in your own company. As much as we need to be connected with other people, we also need to have that constant connection with ourselves. The madness of holiday social commitments, paradoxically, can make you feel even more alone and stressed. If you start having these overwhelming emotions, please don’t ignore them, instead, decline as many invitations as you need to. Good friends will understand. Ask for help if you need it, and take time for yourself. Take in a Netflix series, make a cup of indulgent hot chocolate, or just do — nothing.
This can also be a good time to spend some quality time on self-development, whether your preference is with Self Help books or you would like to invest in some time with a Life Coach. Christmas is not just about giving gifts to others, maybe this Christmas it would be beneficial to treat yourself and indulge in some self-development. How often do you get to focus 100% on yourself, your wants, wishes and desires? The new year could bring all sorts of surprises and you can start to look forward, not back.
This Christmas Reach Out To People You’ve Lost Touch With
Get out the old address book and look up your old mates. Think about the friends you used to enjoy being with, but don’t see often anymore. A Christmas card, an email or a quick text, what can you lose?
Accept Your Feelings
Try not to push away your emotions. Every emotion tells us something about our inner experience that might be informing our outer experience. Give yourself permission to feel whatever comes over you. Don’t judge it or try to change it; simply observe it and sit with it. Try the leaves on a stream method for this:
Limit time on social media
Sites like Facebook and Instagram will inevitably be filled with posts about people gathering with family and significant others and research has shown that excessive browsing can lead to increased feelings of loneliness. Pick up the phone and call someone for a chat instead, or just have a detox from all social media and spend time taking care of yourself.
Try To Avoid Dating Apps Or Jumping Into A New Relationship This Christmas
Now isn’t the time to go looking for a festive romance. I always tell my clients to stay away from looking for relationships on apps, or face to face during the holidays. After my separation from my husband, just before Christmas, I weakened thinking it would be better to try again than spend Christmas alone…it took all of 10 minutes to realise that that was a big error!
Coping with loneliness at Christmas – BE KIND TO YOURSELF!!!!
Most of all it’s important to remember that you’re doing your best during a notoriously stressful time. There’s nothing inherently wrong with feeling lonely, and while it can be an unpleasant experience, riding out the wave of your feelings will always land you on the other side eventually.