I’m dreading feeling lonely at Christmas – what can I do?
Whether you’ve lost a loved one, estranged from family, or are socially isolated, being lonely at Christmas can be hard. What you can do about it depends somewhat on why you’re lonely.
I’m looking at what everyone else is doing on social media and it makes me feel lonely
Social media compels us to measure ourselves against other people’s achievements, and their approval as well. What we can forget though is that people put a curated version of their life online. They might be watching a Midsummer Murders episode for the fourth time and eating spaghetti hoops out of the tin, but they’re unlikely to post that.
Remember that other people have the same emotions and experiences that you do, and they’re not immune to loneliness. You aren’t the only person in your social circle feeling this way.
I’ve got long distance relatives and I can’t get to see them
Being physically distant doesn’t have to equal being lonely at Christmas. Use the phone, or better still video calling, to keep in touch. When you do make sure you focus on the emotional connection rather than the lack of physical contact. Being on your own doesn’t have to mean being lonely as well.
It’s my first Christmas without my partner/best friend/pet
This is the time to decide what Christmas traditions you want to keep, and which ones you might want to start. Perhaps a walk through a local park or countryside, and spending time in nature. Or you might prefer to indulge yourself in your favourite pastime or hobby. You might even want to spend Christmas abroad, or make the focus of the Christmas holiday another day entirely.
I feel as if nobody needs or wants me around
Social contact is important to us, and a lack of it can be brought into focus by Christmas. Remembering that you aren’t the only person to feel lonely at Christmas why not do something with other people? Volunteering at shelters and community groups can be over-subscribed, but don’t be disheartened if they can’t accommodate you. Find someone locally and invite them to be a part of your Christmas. Remember as well that couples can be lonely and isolated too – it’s not just single people.