For some, the holidays are the best time of the year. It means spending quality time with friends and family, holiday parties and gifts galore. For others, the holidays can be less than cheerful and seem to have a special way of making you feel awful if you’re spending the season alone. Maybe you’re getting over a recent break up or the loss of a loved one. Maybe you’ve moved away for work or school and can’t afford to make it home in time for the holidays. Whatever the scenario, let’s be honest: being alone over the holidays sucks…and the fact that the entire world is talking about it definitely doesn’t make being alone feel any better.
If you’re one of those feeling a bit lonely this season, you’ll be surprised to know that you’re actually not alone as the holidays can be one of the loneliest times of the year. In an effort to keep your spirits up in spite of being alone, we’ve complied a few coping mechanisms to help you get through the last few days of the year. Here’s a few ways to stay sane if you’re alone during the holidays:
Create Your Own Tradition
Starting your own tradition is a great way to distract yourself from being alone over the holidays. If you have other friends, coworkers or neighbors who are also spending the holidays alone, it might be a great opportunity to start your own “Friendsgiving” or “Christmas Brunch” where you can bond over great food, great drinks and great conversation. If you’re not up for the group activity, you can start a solo tradition too. Maybe go to the movies on Christmas, or take yourself ice skating, or treat yourself to a nice fancy dinner. If you adapt a tradition you love, you might find yourself actually looking forward to spending the holidays to disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself.
Volunteering and helping others is a sure way to lift your spirits when you’re feeling down. Just knowing you’ve made a difference in someone’s life by giving back will help bring a smile to your face and remind you of how fortunate you truly are. You can give back in many ways over the holidays by collecting toys and warm clothing for those less fortunate, delivering meals to the elderly, spending time at a nursing home or even donating to your favorite charity. Bringing joy to someone else is a beautiful way to experience joy yourself.
Set Realistic Expectations
You might feel lonely during this time of year simply due to the fact that society has placed such huge expectations on what it means to celebrate the holidays. Everywhere you turn, there are romantic holiday movies playing, family Christmas portraits being hung and social media posts giving off false perceptions that everyone is living their most picture-perfect lives. Not having a significant other or close family might only seem weird during the time when we’re “supposed” to be going to parties, exchanging gifts and spending time with those we love. Combat those feelings by re-thinking your expectations and realize that nobody’s life truly measures up to the Hallmark Channel movies you’ve been binge watching all weekend. Instead, shift your focus to the great things you do have in life and realize that your holiday is perfectly fine just the way it is.
Remember What You’re Grateful For
Expressing gratitude might seem like something simple, but it actually has many benefits that’ll help bring you out of your holiday slump. It’s hard to focus on being thankful and feeling lonely at the same time. For example, if you’re feeling down due to the lack of love in your life, be thankful for the love that you do have whether it be from friends, family or even your pets. Keeping a gratitude journal is also a great exercise you can try to get you in the habit of recording everything you value in life. It’s even more rewarding to read through your list of grateful moments the next time you’re feeling down.
Prepare Yourself for The Coming Year
There’s no better pick me up than reflecting on everything you’ve accomplished this year and figuring out your plan for how you’ll level up even more next year. Rather than sitting around feeling lonely, you can spend the holidays writing down your dreams and goals for the coming year and mapping out a plan on how to achieve them. You can try creating a vision board, reading self-help books, writing motivational notes to yourself or simply writing down your list of goals using your notes app. No matter your tactic, focusing on how great the coming year can be will definitely lift your spirits and help take your mind off of feeling alone!