Tips on how to manage loneliness during the holidays
While Christmas movies and popular culture may paint a rosy picture of the holiday season, spent with family, friends and loved ones, this is not always the case for everyone and can even be a very difficult time of the year.
Whether you don’t have family to turn to, are single, recently lost a loved one, became empty nesters or can’t make it back home, it’s common to feel loneliness, sadness and a sense of isolation during the holidays.
Throughout my life, I’ve had many bad experiences during the holidays. I always felt like the “loser” of my family, and so even when I was surrounded by people, I felt alone. Over the years, however, I’ve learned some tricks and tools I use when I feel this way.
Practice Self Care
If you want to get out of your head and feel better instead of just wallowing in self pity (which can sometimes be good in its own way), try doing something just for you. Make sure you get plenty of sleep and do a physical activity that you enjoy, even if it’s just taking a walk around the block. A bubble bath is great but so is binge watching all the seasons of "Arrested Development.” Or you can keep yourself busy by cleaning your bedroom and organizing closets. Whatever it is, focus on taking good care of yourself without putting pressure on yourself that you need to “feel” a certain way.
Seek Company and Share Your Feelings
When you’re lonely, often your instinct is to isolate yourself from others. In these moments, sometimes the best thing to do is to override this instinct and push yourself to seek out your support system--whether this be a friend, a mentor, a family member or even a HearMe listener.
There is a tool that I learned in AA called “Bookmarking” an event. If you have to attend a holiday party that you are stressing about, reach out to someone before to share your feelings (you can use HearMe for this) and then after, reach out again to let them know how it went. This allows you to share your feelings with someone you trust and be vulnerable about where you’re at. Your support system will want to be there for you.
Honor Your Feelings
Most importantly, what I want people to know is that it is okay to feel this way. It is okay to feel lonely and sad, and not do anything because that is human. Sometimes things are not fixable at the moment, and sometimes you just want to do nothing. Be kind to yourself. Your feelings are valid, no matter what, and remember, you will survive this season.