Christmas can be a lonely time of year. Images of happy families are everywhere, and those who don’t fit that picture, whether through bereavement or divorce, can feel incredibly lonely. So if you find yourself alone this Christmas for whatever reason what can you do?
The first thing is to imagine your ideal day and make a plan to do just that as much as possible on Christmas Day – it’s your day, and it doesn’t have to be a less satisfying version of the one that other people are having.
Loneliness isn’t the same as being alone, and it’s possible to feel lonely in the midst of a crowd or other people. That’s why accepting invitations isn’t always the best thing that you can do. If where you’ve been invited is likely to remind you more of things that you don’t have then it may actually be less distressing not to go.
Turning the television off can be helpful for some people as well, again because it can be a reminder of previous Christmases. Others might want to use the phone, or Skype or Facetime, to contact relatives or friends who are too far away to be with them. If so then think about agreeing a specific time to call, so that you don’t worry that you might have missed it.
If your health is good enough you could try volunteering at a shelter or soup kitchen over Christmas and New Year. Volunteering there is an excellent way of doing something different with your time, and giving it a structure and some purpose. If loneliness is a problem during the rest of the year then volunteering is also a good way of meeting other people, and ones who probably share your outlook as well as your circumstances.