The popular stereotype of Christmas Day, where everyone is surrounded by family and friends, sitting at long tables of festive feasts or under the tree opening presents, is a stark contrast to the reality of many of us. For many people the holidays are the most difficult time of the year, and it is not uncommon to feel isolated or lonely during the holiday season. For some, this is because they live far away from friends or family, or some people may feel they have no one to connect with. For all kinds of reasons, we can find ourselves spending Christmas alone. This can be hard, especially if we are also experiencing other distressing events or situations in our lives. The good news is there are always strategies on coping with difficult times. Here are some ideas on how to deal with loneliness over the holiday period.
First, ask yourself if you have a choice about being alone. Sometimes we refuse invitations due to anxiety, or avoid reaching out to others for fear of rejection. If this is the case, you may think about whether to accept an offer or reach out to someone you know. You may ultimately choose not to interact with anyone today, but remembering that there were options to interact can help provide a sense of choice and control. There is nothing wrong with spending time alone if that works best for you today.
If you want to reach out but don't have anyone in mind, you might consider searching online for what volunteer opportunities are in your area. Spending time helping others can be a way to connect with others and experience joy through bringing joy to others. Doing something charitable can also provide you with a sense of self-purpose and altruism which may help to lift your spirits. Check out the link below to see some of the activities you could participate in over the Christmas holidays! https://govolunteer.com.au/volunteering/in-adelaide%20city
- 3."Orphans Christmas"
Some people who spend Christmas alone organise an "Orphan's Christmas" which invites other people in the community to get together for a meal and a celebration. Try searching for a community Christmas event in your area, or create one if none exist. Perhaps try posting a status into your local Facebook community group or asking your local council. If you feel anxious about reaching out just remember there are other people who are feeling lonely and would love to spend Christmas with someone!
- 4.Reach out to an old friend
The holidays are a great opportunity to reconnect with an old friend or family member you may have lost touch with. Pick up the phone, or send them a message and share an old memory between the two of you to rekindle.
- 5.Embrace being alone
If being with others is not an option, there are ways to make the best of your day alone. Christmas Day can be a time to indulge whatever makes you happy, and some people find they end up really enjoying this time to themselves! Here are some ideas to try if you're hanging out with yourself for the day:
- -Host an Online Christmas! No cooking or cleaning required. Skype chatrooms or Facebook groups allow people to pop in and out as they wish
- -Cook your favourite foods just for yourself
- -Plan a movie marathon
- -Start writing that book you always thought about
- -Stay in your pajamas allllll day long
- -Collect your favourite books and magazines and snuggle down with reading snacks
- -Take a bath
- -Treat yourself to a box of chocolates (yes, a whole box)
- -Try a little gentle Yoga
- -Take a walk to somewhere you haven't walked before
Remember, being alone on Christmas is okay! It is not a reflection of you or who you are as a person! LETSS will be here all through the Christmas period, so if you are in a need of some ideas of what to do or would like some additional mental health support, please give LETSS a call at 1800 013 755 or start a webchat via www.letss.org.au
(image from Unsplash by Freestocks)