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How to deal with spending the holidays alone

Whether it’s by choice or circumstance, spending Christmas alone is a situation lots of people around the world find themselves in.

Lots of people have a solo Christmas for a variety of reasons, including family disputes, work commitments, finances or because they don't celebrate the holiday.

Not having people around us can feel more difficult during festive times when there are lots of images of families and friends together. Even when we have a lot of people around, we might still feel lonely. This might be because we feel like we have to hide our feelings, or act differently around some people.

The holidays don't necessarily exacerbate mental health conditions specifically, but they do have the tendency to create more stress.

This year will, without a doubt, be even more challenging and stressful as a result of the COVID pandemic, economic challenges, political divides, and family separations. Chances are you've dealt with (at least) one of these situations yourself.

There are strategies you can put in place to cope with feeling lonely during the holidays. Here are a few ideas:

  • Start a daily gratitude list: Every day, list five things in your life that you are grateful for or happy about. Focusing on the positives can help to lift your mood and put you on course for a more positive long-term mind set

  • Volunteer: Despite what you might think, there is a lot going on around your local community at Christmas that doesn’t require you to be part of a big family. Volunteering in the community, at a homeless shelter or care home for example, is one of the best ways to connect with other people and prevent loneliness.

  • Be around people: When you’re feeling lonely, making plans can be the most difficult thing to try and do. But as social beings, our self-esteem receives a timely boost when we interact with each other. If you feel able to, put some time in with a friend you really value.

Here’s a list of other ideas to try next Christmas if you find yourself alone:-

  1. Binge on all the shows you haven’t had time to watch

  2. Binge on some of your favourite books

  3. Soak in some self care and do something nice for yourself

  4. Listen to a joyful playlist that doesn’t involve  Christmas carols or anything to do with the festive season.

  5. Make yourself a dish you love, you can even decide to make a fancy breakfast, lunch and dinner, pop in some pastries if you like baking.

It might have been alone this Christmas but just remember that certainly doesn’t make you lonely or mean you will be alone forever, enjoy your holidays by making yourself feel special.

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